The price we pay for the things we love.

We have to work the hardest for the things we love. As living creatures with wants and needs, there is always the option of putting in less effort, of caring less, for the things we want. Like grades, the learning experience, asking after a friend when his interview ended. Of mastering the asana without falling over, of taking detours to buy fish slices noodles from buona vista. Everything has a price tag on it, but this price is not equivalent to money. Money is a concept created by man, but the price that I am referring is the emotional investment that we put into things we value. One thing that going through all the experiences in my life is that I will only remember things if I chose them according to what my heart told me, if I worked really hard at them, and if I survived. Nothing else matters but what I choose to do. “Where this takes me, there I choose to go.”

Sometimes the price can be too high. Knowing that late nights at work means that I can’t talk to a certain friend as much, and knowing his need to be in constant contact because that is his style. Knowing that my response to stress is usually to shut down and to evade. Or knowing that I had health issues and instead of going for TCM immediately, I delayed it for a year because I didn’t want pain. Knowing that doing a part-time internship would mean balancing work and school, and knowing that I don’t fully enjoy HR, but wanting the experience of working for a statutory board- I chose to do it for six months. Knowing that I do really like my freedom but balancing that with understanding God and understanding religion, I gave myself four years to understand the whole concept of church, and from Jan onwards, dedicated six hours a week to formal lessons. Knowing that my solitary habits probably makes other people judge me but it is something that I choose.With all my choices, there is a price to pay. And a price that I have paid.

Even for my current job choice, working in the consulting arm of a big 4 firm means long hours, some travelling (depending on where your client is located), and a miserable pay. But the experience is worth it, or so they tell me. It is a choice that I make. I know that this is the path I am choosing to take, and whatever comes, I will deal with it. Along with some whining to my poor friends.

Given that all my efforts might result in nothing 10 years down the road, would it be worth the price? Sometimes I get a feeling that I am completely alone and that absolutely nobody understands me. Which I would say is normal, because while I would think that I’m a rather good judge of sincerity and character and even as I understand my friends and their insecurities, I still get a feeling that everyone is locked inside themselves. We can show what we are committed to and what we value, but we cannot let people feel as we do. There is just no way to connect.

I would say that over the past four years, my stress levels increased but I got better at handling them. My gratitude meter expanded, I became more patient and I learned to find good things in people to appreciate when in the past I would have completely brushed them off as boring people. Now they are still boring, but I am no longer above talking to ‘boring’ people. I can’t change how I feel about them but I can change how I act.

Understanding that it was necessary for me to live through university and to build up my confidence through repeated projects and presentations, while learning that at the very end, it is all about being kind to oneself. There will never be a perfect assessment centre or a perfect elevator pitch, but one can always celebrate with milo dinosaur prata (!!) at the end. Regardless of how shitty it was. Because I probably worried about it beforehand, hoping that I wouldn’t embarrass myself. And then I did probably say or do things that I didn’t fully intend to. And then there’s just no point ruminating over spilled milk.

I am nowhere as good as where I would like to be, but here I am, still alive. Not knowing is valuable to me because I then take things more seriously. If I knew how it was going to turn out would I still have done it? If I knew exactly what I would have received from people, would I want to continue? It is in the space between absolute certainty and absolute uncertainty that I thrive, because everything is a gift. That blurred, smoky, insubstantial space that no one bothers to define.