Thank you for giving me ants in my pants

Some adults have an uncanny and annoying way of passing judgment every so subtly. The last time I visited Bombay, an old uncle friend made an off-hand comment that left me feeling rather annoyed, stewing, and muttering under my breath.

This time around, I met him and he did it again! His face screwed up into a disfigured frown, he asked me ever so condescendingly, “So how’s Goa treating you?”. The kind of question that’s perfectly cordial on the outside, but actually cuts through deeper than you know. I think I’m a pretty good judge of tone of expression, to know when someone asks a question already knowing he isn’t going to believe the answer. That he wasn’t asking to know how Goa really is treating me, but to make it known that he actually believes it isn’t working for me. So it really didn’t matter what my answer was going to be.

I did him a favor though, and answered with a big, bright smile. “It’s awesome,” I said. Nothing more. Nothing less. No explanations needed. None given.

It could have just ended there. If I were mature enough. But I’m not. And I didn’t just let it go. I let it prick and needle me. I thought and over-thought the statement. I continued to stew and be really pissed off that he pulled it off yet again and I that let the snide comment pass.

But the truth is this: Yes, I’ve switched multiple jobs. Yes, I’m the kind of person who’s fickle about what makes me happy. And yes, I’m also the kind of person who just will not settle. Unfortunately or fortunately I’m the kind of person that is gullible enough to be moved by cheesy lines from Steve Jobs’ Stanford Graduation address. No matter that what he advocates is altogether impractical and not feasible. For if we all just chose to flit form one thing to another seeking what we love, I don’t see how there would be any sort of consistency or stability in our lives. But that’s not the point. I was and still am inspired by those lines. Enough to scribble them out on the back of laundry bills.

That my life has traversed a path that has allowed me to take such chances, play around in the world of advertising, get burnt and hate it so much, that I chose to give it up altogether, is a matter of luck. That my professional life has brought me full circle, to a place where I have a love-hate relationship with what I do, is another matter altogether.

But what I realise is this. The fact that I have taken so long to find a professional balance, is a personal journey. Not something I can expect people to understand. Least of all, judgmental old uncles. But the next time he does ask me how I’m doing, or if I’ve switched jobs again, or if I’m sick of Goa, I’m going to give him this long drawn story. I’m going to tell him that I’m lucky enough to have had the chance to flit around and do many things, try different agencies, different accounts, different brands, different creative teams, before I realized how much I actually hated it. Before I realized I was after the wrong thing. I’m going to tell him I’m so happy I didn’t just settle. That I didn’t just beat myself into following the first path I chose. I’m glad I followed the rather stupid advice that people like Steve Jobs dole out. I’m glad my life has brought me to a place today, where I can use what little experience I have, and try and meld it with what I want to do. I’m glad that after all that’s come and gone, I’m sitting snug in the warmth of having a job that’s actually more than a job.  A workplace that’s not just an office. Colleagues who double up as friends and family. And a life thats as close to perfect as it can get.

So if this is what comes from being inconsistent, unsure, fickle, pessimistic, restless and unsettled, by god, I love it. I love that I’m not easily satisfied. I love that I’m still willing to search. I love that I still know what I’m looking for. My life really has been about searching for that one thing I love. And if Steve Jobs lived by that rule, I don’t really have too much to worry about, do I?

Here’s to the ants in the pants. Here’s to the indecision. Here’s to a life of wandering and exploration.

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15 Replies to “Thank you for giving me ants in my pants”

  1. next time say Variety is the spice of life :) whats life if you dont have the balls to experiment & enjoy :) you are living a life which could only be an envious dream for most of us :) i really wish i could be in your shoe so just forget & continue to do what u doing :)

    1. You’re so right Rani :) And it always makes me happy when you leave a comment, to know that you drop by here sometimes, from even so far away!
      Hope all is well with you xoxx

  2. Oh I love, love, love this post! When I moved cities and jobs 2 years ago, I pretty much hated the job I had here, and then the next one and the one after that. All in different industries. It was frustrating, dissatisfying, and well, just very disappointing every time. I couldn’t have not switched, I like to be happy. It is really as simple as that. There was a lot of judgment, not all of it from old uncles. But there was a personal journey involved in all those switches I made till I found something I enjoyed. I am not sure how long it will last, but at least it made me realize how much I need to love what I do. I’d happily take more chances, and not expect most people to “get” it. They won’t. Not my need to enjoy my work, not the personal journey. And you know what, it really doesn’t matter. Here’s to the ants in the pants, here’s to indecision. You go girl! :)

    1. That sounds a lot like me and in a weird sense makes me happy that there are others who are indecisive and not easy to please :) Its good to want happiness above all, even if that means seeming fickle and indecisive in others minds. Its you happiness and satisfaction at stake after all, and nothing else should come in between.

  3. First time here and I must say that this is a lovely post! I actually suffered for 8 years in a field which I didn’t like one bit and finally got the guts to do what I really wanted to do. And since I am just starting out in this field, it is not as lucrative as my previous career and there are so many people who simply can’t understand why I quit my earlier job! I’ve had people commenting “So you really need to do a lot of work to earn a ‘good amount'” and even some who ask “Do you get paid or are you just doing something for ‘time-pass’?”. These people just cannot understand what passion is and I just feel sorry that all they can see in a job is the money it pays. I also agree that not everyone can simply drop all their responsibilities and commitments to “follow their dreams” as many people like Steve Jobs suggest – its not that simple. But hey! we could afford to do it and we did it and what’s more, we ought to be proud :-)

  4. nice read ;) rarely people follow their hearts when it comes to choose professions. congrats to you. + SJ no doubt rose to the pinnacle of creativity , imagination , hard work and technical intelligence , whatever he learned and knew he took that to its highest level of perfection be it computer electronics , programming , calligraphy or his amazing sense towards user interface and user experience. His life was full of ups and downs but he never gave up and came out as a winner.

    1. I didnt say I hate the Stanford speech. I just think its not really practical advice for everyday use. Its easier said than done, for fewer people than others, thassall :)

  5. You go girl. Looking for something you like to do sounds like a good idea. After all, it is better to ‘waste’ a few years drifting rather than wasting a whole life doing something you don’t like!

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