In my teens and early age, I was just as fascinated by new tech, branded clothes, and expensive and shiny things as any other person, but after graduating at 21, everything suddenly changed. Life needed a purpose; I knew what I loved to do but had no direction.

I was also working on an android app with one of my best friends back then, which helped me a bit during grad school. My mentor then instilled values about life, work, ethics, and discipline, which helped me prepare for grad school.

My outlook on life changed entirely during grad school, meeting other students and traveling almost every week across the US for new events, competitions, and conferences. Life became more transparent and straightforward.

I never had any time for tv, fancy food, or exotic travel, and I realized that I hadn’t “missed” any of it. Life was always meant to be more than travel, food, Netflix, weekends, late-night outings, drinking, and I feel sad for people who think this is all life is supposed to be. Yes, we need to enjoy it from time to time, but life means way more than just this. Life will never be picture-perfect, and some maturity is involved in accepting that very thing.

I’ve never really cared about how much money people made; I care about what they made. My mentor told me a definition of a true engineer, “An engineer is a person who uses his knowledge and expertise to help solve problems for humankind today and tomorrow.” So when I failed my onsite interview at google during grad school, I believed it was for the better. Not only was it a reality check of where I stood, but also what I could do. That failure, in a way, paved my journey for today. I still make equal pay compared to an engineer at Google, but maybe I would be obnoxious, arrogant, and self-centered today carrying the badge on my shoulders.

I wish people understood that life was more than living a “high-profile” life. I may be living a minimalistic life, but I love some of the finest things in life and buy them whenever I want. But that’s not what my life has only been about.

I’m not on any social media, but I also know most people posting their glamorous and happy lives on social media are acting out of a place of suffering, and for that, they have my sympathy. I don’t need a degree in human psychology and cyber security to say that their online lives aren’t real.

Social media indeed did a number on humans thinking yachts, private planes, and exotic vacations are the only things worth living for. Holidays and travel should be for experiences and self-realization, not for others to be seen on social media.

I am reasonably happy with my current situation. I might get drained out physically and mentally every day from living double lives, but not a single morning goes by where I think my previous day was wasted. I always wanted to do more, be more than just an engineer working for fat pay, and I’m finally doing what I always wanted. There are tremendous risks and sacrifices to be made, but nothing in the world that comes easy is worth having, and nothing worth having comes easy.

So I leave with this:

  • A person with a dream and vision is more powerful than a person with facts and a budget.
  • He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.
  • If you feel you are doing important things, you should be doing things with a real chance of failing. If they’re easy, let someone else do them.
  • Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.