Being a Slave to our Ambitions

Photo by Joana Abreu on Unsplash

Staying ambitious is really important. It helps us achieve our goals and dreams in life. It helps us utilise our potential and not waste our talents. But the problem comes when we become hyper-focused on our ambitions and become their slave. I know that feeling because I have been a slave to my ambitions for as long as I can remember- just like anybody else. We should not complain about our ambitious personalities- it’s a big part of who we are as individuals on this earth that inhabits approximately 8 billion people. Nonetheless, we all pay a big price and we should not keep paying anymore.

Do we ever ask ourselves what make us happy in our personal lives? (I am not talking about professional lives and it’s so sad that we have become conditioned to think of happiness with respect to our professional careers). Maybe I can help if you’re struggling. What makes me happy are these things: books, writing, going out in nature, meeting people for coffee and having nice and long conversations, watching birds, thinking, and I make sure I take some time out for the things that prevent me from becoming a machine. Would a car, a house, and savings in my bank account make me happy? Absolutely, why not. These are life’s necessities and I can’t be a philosopher if I am struggling with money and a comfortable place to live in. But I still believe there is so much to life and there is so much that we do not see even when it’s right infront of us. As David Foster Wallace said in his famous commencement speech “This is water” that the things in life that matter, we never really observe them as we remain occupied with the trivial stuff of life.

It’s true that some people have extraordinary circumstances and I am not going to pretend that I know anything about their lives. But the basic idea behind this blog is simply to share a very important lesson that I have learned only recently: THERE IS SO MUCH TO LIFE. Yes, there will always be periods of setbacks, failures and disappointments, and it’s completely okay. I face them all the time just like anybody else. However, I still try my best to look at life more than my ambitions and social status. I want to do good things in life (career wise and otherwise) but I don’t want to do them just so I can impress people. I want to do them because I love and enjoy doing those things. And I definitely don’t want to be a slave to my ambitions. I want my ambitions to help me grow and get better. That’s all!

I am working full time. Yet my work has zero economic value.

Before I begin I must warn you that you might find my blog post boring and not relevant. But if you care enough to read it you are probably going to get an idea about something that you haven’t experienced before.

So, bear with me.

Currently, I am unemployed. I completed my bachelors degree three years ago. Although I have a post graduate diploma, I haven’t gotten myself into a master’s programme yet. Almost every friend of mine is done with a master’s degree. Some are working. They are earning money while I, on the other hand, have only earned 5000 in my life so far during an internship. There is no comparison or jealousy here. And I know very well that grass is always greener on the other side. My point is that I am here telling my story. Just mine.

 I wake up at 5 am five days a week. I freshen up and make a cup of coffee for myself. I retire to my study room and try drinking  coffee mindfully. After that I meditate (but I suck at focusing my mind so it is still a road under construction). After doing a couple of small chores I go back to my study room and do some of my personal work including studying. Two to three times a week I go out to get milk by my bicycle (with full protection, in case you’re wondering). After having my breakfast I start up with the household chores. Yes, I study and do household work. Yet my ‘physical work’ has no economic worth. It takes about 3-3:30 hours to get done with all the household work including dusting, brooming, moping, washing utensils and cleaning bathroom that I have been doing alongside my mother for the past 4 months now. In the evening, there are certain tasks that are needed to be done and they also consume some of my time. In the midst of all this I manage to do my own work (requiring mental energy), maintain my social life and take some time out for myself.

There are certain things that I am realising through my experiences and I want to throw some light on some of the realizations.

Household chores are no joke. Never belittle them

I used to think ‘mental labor’ can be really exhausting. Truth be told, it is still true. But after familiarizing myself with ‘physical labor’ I have come to believe that doing household work is no lesser than studying a textbook or writing a term paper. It is a job where you can never take a day off from. It is always with you- 24*7, all 365 days a year. There is so much of non-economic value but the economic worth is a big zero. No matter how hot or cold it is you have to do all the basic work that is needed to be done during a day. It’s like your mind is constantly busy with one thing or the other. So, it is my urge to you that you never belittle the work.

Frustration is of no help

It is important that I don’t suppress my emotions and say that “I am frustrated“. I do that. But many times I let my emotions control me and so, snap out at people. That’s when I realize my frustration is getting out of my hands and I need to understand that it is not helping me in any way at all. Even though sometimes I hate doing it, I tell myself that there is no other choice. It doesn’t always make me feel better every time but it’s worth a shot.

Getting better at time management

In spite of all the frustration and hate, I must say I am getting better at managing my time. I wasn’t very good at time management and struggled to get things done and have a non anxious life. But I can see that it is changing now. I am becoming better at managing things that are important during my day. Whilst I believe I have a scope of improving a lot in the future I am pretty much satisfied with my time management skills.

Yes, I am working full time at my home. I am not getting paid. I am old enough to be earning or at least have a master’s degree. And all this is not in my favor right now. Nevertheless, I am grateful for my life and family every single day. During this time (and I mean COVID-19) if I am safe, my family is safe and we have enough money to have a decent life I don’t think anything else should matter way too much.