It feels good to take some rest and reflect on your life every once in a while. I've been so lost for the past month and so unsure about my future, but now I've made my decision.
I will no longer force myself to stick to traditional paths. Expectations are what was holding me back. Always thinking about my life the wrong way. I've always been measuring my success from other people's perspectives; but that's totally wrong.
An unconventional path
I don't care if people think I'm foolish. I don't care if they think I'm a failure. As long as I'm sticking to my long term plan, I'll be successful in my own eyes.
It's unconventional for people to trade short term results for long term benefits, which is why many people find what I'm doing very risky. No job around me fits what I like, and no project satisfies my need for challenge. That's why I decided to pave my own path. I'll start learning the things I love and combining them in ways never done before, even if that means not being able to find a traditional job.
I know that on the short term, this means I won't be making any money. But I'm fine with that. I'll be establishing the base of my future career, and I'm sure my future self will thank me for not sticking to a career I don't enjoy just to make some fast money.
The risk of failure is there, and I already made peace with that. One year from now, I'll be reflecting on the work I've done. From there, I'll either continue walking on this unorthodox path and create my own opportunities or I'll treat that year as if it didn't exist and pick up from where I'll stop today.
The danger of expectations
I've always admired this quote by Richard Feynman:
You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be. It’s their mistake, not my failing.
The problem is, admiring is not enough. I knew that I had to stop trying to live up to other people's expectations, but somehow I was always thinking about how society saw me.
Everyone around me is expecting me to get a job, or at least take projects and make money. But both options don't appeal to me. I don't want to take a job I don't like, and I don't want to work on projects that won't allow me to grow.
It's time for me to stop caring. I don't care if they think I'm stupid, mad, delusional or even an asshole. I'll just do whatever pleases me from now on. I have no responsibility to be like they expect me to be.
The output of this decision is positive for me either way. I have enough money to support me for the entire next year, so I know I'll be financially independent during that time I'm investing in myself.
At the end of the year, I'll either have everything going according to plan or I'll just go broke and look for a job where the skills I gained can benefit me. Either way, I'll have new skills, more knowledge, and no debt or reliance on other people for income.
Studying people. It has always been my passion. Understanding human behavior in every possible way. Why we want what we want, do what we do, and what drives our thoughts and emotions. Then I'll start exploring this behavior in the presence of technology.
How is social media changing our behavior? How can people be exploited? How can they become more aware of that? What makes people vulnerable to scams and online attacks? How can we mitigate that risk and teach people to be safe on the Internet?
All I want to do is learn about people and their online behavior, and from there I can figure out how to use that knowledge and skills to generate some income.
This may or may not work, but I won't know unless I try. All I know is that ten years from now, I don't want to look back and say “I wish I had tried it”.