Just got off from a chat with a friend who I've admired for a long time. We are both from Macau and now in the US doing creative work. I'm in SF doing UIUX and she's in New York doing fashion. She's a fierce lady with great taste and always able to create styles that are fresh and bold.
Today I saw her post about depression and how a lot of people in our age are going through the same thing while seemingly all cheerful on the outside. I replied, I am the same. Then we went on a conversation about finding direction at this time in our life, fitting in a different cultures and building deep friendships that last.
We are both about a few years into the work scene - about time to piece up all these first time experiences and figure out how to move on. As in the book "The Defining Decade", we're trying to be intentional about our time.
Deep friendships, fulfilling career, being resourceful and reliable, knowing how to present ourselves...etc, all these take time to build up. I've been thinking how a lot of the lessons in life are not "intuitive" in a sense that the answer/clear path don't immediately appear. To know where to go, it requires you to "do enough" to see the patterns. And we don't have a lot of time to "do enough" for everything.
A lot of us dwelled into worrying about fitting in, whether what we are doing adhere to social standard and expectation; trying to be a certain type of people that is widely accepted. We frown upon ourselves, fear that we are not achieving. But remember, all the greats go from zero to one. By that I mean, not just reading the book "zero to one". At the end of the day, the book is just a one-to-one good-to-know. We, ourselves should be the owner - give permission for ourselves to create our own unique path. (Another friend recently tell me about his crush on a girl and one of her most outstanding quality is her "non-conformist" personality, which is very cute and frankly rare ;) )
More and more I see the value of being true to ourselves. I have been doing illustrations on my instagram for a long time and occasionally there will be voices telling me that these illustrations are useless for my career and I am wasting time. But somehow, all my illustrations and side work came together and brought me opportunities that I'd never thought of otherwise.
I realized this journey takes turns and time. I'm just going with my compass not a map. (Whiplash has a great chapter about the principle: Compass over Map) It's an unforeseeable journey, and it had brought me way more fulfillment and joy than a well known path.
"Do enough" for yourself. Own your passion. Keep doing what you love and what you see as valuable. All will make sense later.
PS: Hi WriteTogether friends! It's been a long while and I am stroked to see how this space has evolved. The writing page (I'm currently on) is so simple and focused. I love it. Thank you again for making this platform great and feel like home. :)