Ever since I read Philosophers in my final year at BITS Pilani, I asked myself several questions. One of them is “What Matters In Life?”. Whenever am at crossroads in life, I ask this. I asked this when I had to choose between a military career and a corporate career. Again when I had to choose between a startup life and a corporate life. And again when I had to choose between one startup over another. Every time I had to make a big decision in my career and life, I turned to this one question, “What Matters In Life?”.

Unsurprisingly, the answer didn’t come to me while I was sitting under an apple tree. I iterated over the answer so many times until I found something that remained unchanged.

As a naive school kid, scoring more marks than the topper was all that mattered in my life. It stopped mattering when I scored better.

Then getting into an IIT was all that mattered. I put myself in a dark study room for 12 hours every single day to achieve that. It mattered until I got a rank that would let me go to an IIT. Although I didn’t get into an IIT. That’s perhaps a story for another day.

Then I got into BITS Pilani. I thought marks and studies don’t matter at all. So I stopped studying courses and focused on extracurricular activities. In the first 3 years, I did everything from teaching math and English to the kids in nearby slums to managing the finance & assets of a fest alongside building a car. Then I wanted to build more and more cars because it was so much fun. Seeing an image of a car I had in mind to actually build it and drive it was an amazing feeling.

So I joined TATA Motors to build cars. Then I started earning money and started paying off loans. I felt money mattered a lot in life. But I also wanted to learn how to build and TATA was very slow at that time. So I joined Ather Energy to accelerate learning how to build and make more money to pay off my loans faster. I also started travelling when I moved to Bangalore.

So balance in life mattered more than anything else in life. I wanted to make money while building stuff alongside exploring the beautiful planet. The balanced approach to life mattered more than anything in life and I was very very happy. But work gets monotonous really quickly. Companies always optimize to “processify” everything so unless you’re working in a very early stage, you will be left to follow processes more than doing actual work.

For a long long time, I strongly believed in this balanced approach. But as I travelled more, I realized it gave me more joy. I felt very happy and free in the wild and I resolved to spend more time in the wild. Then COVID happened and I was forced to lock myself at home. In addition, all the deaths during this phase of life taught me how important family is and I already missed so much time with my parents.

From then on, only two things mattered in life. The craving for exploring more and my family. But with Work from an office job and living in Bangalore and my career tied to the electric vehicle sector which honestly doesn’t have many prospects in Hyderabad, I have to stick to once-a-month visits to Hyderabad and travelling on weekends.

So while my long-term goal is to pursue exploration at a grander scale and spend more time with my family. The reality is these need money. And there are only two ways to make money. One being selling time and another letting money make more money. So at one point in time, making a lot of money mattered more than anything so that I could go buy the freedom I wanted.

But somehow I am not very comfortable with trading all my time to make money at the moment and postponing everything to tomorrow. Who knows if tomorrow exists or not? So am trying to strike that balance to pursue the long-term goal slowly and more meaningfully.

Am taking up roles in sectors that excite me. Roles where I can add a lot of value and get some value in return which in turn would help me achieve the long-term goal faster. Am making time for travel though not as frequent as before but the pedal is on. I also frequently travel to Hyderabad at least once every month now to spend time with my parents. Also, I got married recently, so am still learning the ropes of a family man. I think am very far from being a good family man but I am actively working on it.

So what actually matters I ask myself.

I’d say a bit of work to contribute to this world and myself in a meaningful way, a hobby that I want more of and some quality time with my loved ones.

I guess that’s what matters.

That’s all I had to share today. Thanks for sticking through till the end.

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About Inju

A speck of stardust in the universe, constantly wandering on a planet called Earth and a geographical location called India. Thinks long and hard about what to do with the time given to him. He is documenting the useful media through which he wastes his time here on trailsofinju.com

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