There are days where I am continuously thinking about the things I desire. For example, did I get good marks on that test? Will I get this internship? Will I get a chance to travel over the summer? I continually think about such matters because I believe these things will bring me happiness. However, this is not always the case; sometimes fulfilling our desires does not grant us the happiness we seek.
This time last year, I was working as a banker. I got to wear a suit everyday, work in downtown and the pay wasn’t too bad either…I mean, what more could a guy want? This feeling, lasted for about two months, after which, my job started to feel like a drag. I started asking myself, “What was I doing here?”
Essentially, I was getting a paycheque so I could buy nice shirts, save some money and maybe travel; but I still felt incomplete. Something was missing from all of this. Now at this point, people often just brush that feeling off: they go for a drink after work, take a weekend getaway or something along those lines. I, on the other hand, decided to sit down one evening and write down the pros and cons of having a job at the bank.
What I was actually doing, was re-evaluating the direction I was headed. Through this simple exercise, I was able to contemplate about the choices I had made. This helped me realize that working as banker, although fulfilling my desires, wasn’t fulfilling my soul. This wasn’t what I really wanted to do. Prior to working at the bank, I had studied health sciences, with the hope of practicing health care and helping people (without having the pressure of selling them a visa or a mortgage).
Over time, I had lost sight of what I really wanted because it required hard work, persistence, and courage. All of which had dissipated along the way. But now that I realized what it was that I truly desired, I had to dig deeper within myself, find that spark and transform it into a blazing fire.
Although I learnt this lesson through work, that doesn’t mean everyone else will. It can be applied to various aspects of our lives. In relationships, for example, I find people may be in one just because they don’t want to be alone. So they just hold on to the first one that walks through the door, or the first one that likes their Instagram pic, or the first one that sends them a Facebook friend request. We are all individual, beautiful souls with intricate links between each other, and those relationships which are truly satisfying are those that nourish us, help us to grow and deepen our thought process. Instead of latching on to our first digital buddy, why don’t we take the time to appreciate and find ourselves so we can connect to others?
I got the answer to that question through my experience and I realized that I was eager to satisfy my desires, but had starved my soul. Satisfying my desires is quick, easy, doesn’t require much effort but only provides short-lived fulfilment. Nourishing my soul, however, requires patience, persistence and courage, resulting in my everlasting fulfillment and happiness. Equipped with newfound clarity, I decided to give more importance to feeding my soul, which would truly make me feel self satisfied and peaceful. I’m only getting one shot at life (#yolo), and I want to mould it in a way that will not just feed my desires but also feed my soul.
Photography: Christopher Nguyen