Soon it’s going to be one year that I have graduated. So I pressed the rewind button, recalled everything I have been through, and came up with this list. I might look a bit lost, but hey, that’s not that bad.
- Haven’t settled down for anything
Isn’t it too early to commit for anything right now? I worked 3 months for the Foreign Ministry, 4 months for Volunteer Service Overseas (VSO), 3 months for a startup and somewhere in between, 2 months were spent chilling, travelling a bit, and contemplating what I want to do next. I could have extended my tenure at VSO or continued my full time job at the startup, but who knows, I might be missing something out there which is more worthwhile! Or maybe I need a bit of more time to decide where I actually want to “settle down”.
- Tossed job offers
I had one rule to follow in terms getting into a job (and basically anything): I am gonna get out of the restaurant if I don’t like the menu. I understand I might not get exactly what I want from a job, but it has to have at least some scopes that interest me, make me wanna try out. A corporate job with a good salary and possible increment that eventually will turn me into a slave with no weekend and late night office hours for at least 3 years doesn’t trickle my taste bud. Rather, I loved receiving a nominal allowance, staying in a remote village, and actually doing something for the people out there. I worked on weekend there as well, but that didn’t feel like slavery to me. Weird, isn’t it?
- Traveled around Bangladesh
Nothing posh. Traveled to some new places and some old. I went to the Northwest region of Bangladesh for the first time and stayed there for three months at a stretch with the local people. I won’t brag that I could come out of my comfort zone there because the home I stayed in was quite decent. I didn’t have to use a make shift toilet with no ceiling. I went to Chittagong back to my friends twice for a weekend and got to see some new places; like a river with knee-deep water, a tiny village by the river, an island with only one family living there, protecting a waterfall, and a restaurant serving tribal food. In between there 4 road trips to my hometown with family and with colleagues for project purpose.
- Met new people
Another perk of not settling down for anything is meeting new people in each station. I met people from every sphere of life; from a serious foreign diplomat to a talkative school girl from the village; from a courteous British feminist guy to a friendly shopkeeper at a small town who would offer me tea each time I visited his shop! Each of the people I met taught me something new and that’s why I will never be able to forget them. Or might bump into them at some point of my life, who knows?
- Worked for development: Myself and others
I had the experience of being part of a development project. A brand new project, with a brand new team, at a location that has never accommodated an intervention of any kind! The number of people we reached through the project work is countless and we could see the outcome even after our tenure ended. The time spent at the project area taught me about disparity and simplicity. The amount we spend to get a burger in the city could feed a family in the village for a week! It’s not a lot of effort to ensure basic needs to these people; it just needs equal distribution of resources. I was fortunate to be able to do the least for them.
- Learned to let go
Okay, not talking about boyfriends here. I lost 4 elderly family members and I had to cope with the idea that we don’t have the luxury of keeping our favorite people with us forever. Likewise, I learned not to get emotionally attached with people real soon because it will hurt real bad when they leave. I loved my nephew even before he was born; I even imagined myself dancing with him in his birthday party! Since the day he was born, I had to take him in my arms at least once. Staring at his face while he’s asleep had become my favorite pastime. Suddenly, one day his parents had to take him away from me and I couldn’t even say him goodbye. And that’s okay.
- Adopted healthy(-ish) habits
It’s not like I used to lead an unhealthy life, but I made some little changes that might pay off in the long run. I’ve stopped drinking fizzy beverages, and have started to drink green tea with no sugar, twice a day. Even if at times I fall weak under peer pressure, most of the time I just think of all the money I can save by carrying lunch from home to office! I drink a mug full of hot water with lemon twice a day for detoxification. No, I am not looking forward to writing a success story of losing a massive amount of weight. The internal organs in my body have always been nice to me and this is my way to give them back.
- Pursued my hobby
My hobbies changed like seasons but one thing that could never change is photography. I felt the happiest when I had a camera in my hand. Each time I took a photo with someone else’s camera, I promised myself to get one for myself some day. I saved as much as I could. I had to look away from that sexy pair of shoes or that cool backpack on the online store just to keep my promise. And finally I could buy one, even better than the ones I used to borrow from others!
- Made travel plans for the year ahead
After “investing” in my interest, my account balance is in the negative scale as I had to borrow a bit of money from my parents. But, making plans costs nothing. I made dozens of travel plans with friends and family; Bhutan, Kolkata, Assam, Mumbai, Goa, and what not. I have no clue how these trips are going to get financed, but what’s wrong with planning? 😀
- Haven’t figured life out
And finally, I still don’t know what exactly I want to do with my life. A full time job? Short term or long term? Which sector? I have a strong feeling towards development sector? So should I opt for an INGO or a national NGO? How about a donor agency? I sure want to pursue Master’s at some point, but I don’t know what kinda program I want to get into. 1 year long or 2 year long? Which course? Home or abroad? There are so many questions I need to answer before choosing one particular way!
I just have one fear: ending up doing something that will turn out to be a burden on me later on. After all, I need to adjust the seat and other settings first before taking off, isn’t it?