As I munched away Chilaquiles for breakfast, I was passively over hearing a bunch of conversations in the cafe. I could barely grasp any of them, because they were in languages I did not understand. And that made me extremely happy.
In that moment I internalized the feeling of comfort I derive from being in a place where everyone is different. A place I know nothing about; where I need to start from the ground up. That internalization led to a lot of dots connecting all of a sudden. It was, as if, some neural network was activated, and there were light bulbs glowing everywhere.
I derive a lot of pleasure and comfort from being in a diverse environment. I’d rather be in a room with people who are different from me, people who don’t speak my language, nor share the color of my skin. I am psychologically safest in a room where I am not one amongst many similar people. I like to have my own identity, my own flavors. Where there are no pre-conceived notions about how to operate.
This is also what motivates me to travel to places that offer a contrast. I prefer to be in Japan than London. In all of Europe the one place I was most peaceful is Venice since I ran into language issues there. This is also the reason I was so in love with NY. And perhaps this is also the reason I was good at, and so in love with technology consulting. The more the unknowns, the happier I am.
Perhaps that’s why parenting is my favorite vocation. It is full of unknowns. There is never the feeling of – ” I have landed.”
Simply said, I am at peace when I am uncomfortable.
I don’t have the right words to describe this. But just as I start making sense of the madness around me, my interest in that madness drops. A feeling of – “I guess this is figured out. What’s next?” clouds my perspective on things from that point onwards. It is very difficult to motivate myself in that environment after that point of time.
If this is how I operate, I must use this to my advantage – both personally and professionally. I don’t even know where to begin. Or if I need to pay heed to this internalization. May be all of us are like this? I don’t know.
In my early career, I thought of myself as a control freak. And I still carry that image as a baggage. The way I have now understood that behavior is that I am a control freak up until I have it figured. Once I do, I am at peace. I enjoy the flow. Just a little while. And then I get bored of it and go attack something new.
I would not have understood this nuance about myself ten years back. But I am ripe to comprehend it now. That’s why we must give life a chance to simplify itself as we grow up. For now, I am at peace. I have a whole new area to explore and master. Myself.