An Essay by Priyanka Tawde

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I had this unshakable urge to shift things in my life, and I left my job. The last time I had such an urge to shake my life was when I changed the entire direction of my career, and oh boy, was it beautiful? Staying true to my gut has cost me days and days of self-reflection, with no regrets. I went from an overly obsessed career-driven person to truly understanding where my influences and definitions of success come from and most importantly what I truly want. This shift amplified in the lockdown and it came with a realisation that the world has been shifting in terms of career strongly and rapidly, for everyone. Back in 2006, more than half of the social media platforms did not exist, and nor did more than half of the most sought jobs that were born out of them. My observations say that this shift was so fast and unpredictable on a time scale, especially for millennials and generations before that they faced one big challenge they weren’t prepared for.

Unguided Mind shift

Generations before the millennials, especially their parents, were coming from a space of valuing a certain life, a stable life. The wars had shown them the disruption of instability and desperation to get back to stability. Well, when something so intense, global, baleful, comes as a part of your life experience, foreseeing or planning for the future is mostly uncertain. Haven’t we got a diluted dose of that in recent times? Now that we see why stability is so valuable to them and how they hold close to ‘getting your life together’ feels so safe and successful to them, let’s try to understand why we are considering them in the first place. This is the generation that raised millennials, as teachers, as parents, family, leaders, influencers of prominent fields and mentors in any context. They were the source of the ideas of the world millennials built on, and so did the future generations. While the stability seemed fair, the world wasn’t prepared for what was to come. 

The internet was truly born after Google entered the story, and yet, it was just getting started. The internet was evolving faster than the people’s adaptability to it. When early social apps evolved, millennials were entering their prime teenage years. Take a moment to realise in this span while the internet evolved, these teen humans planned and dreamed of their career on the lines guided for stability. But when they entered the market to look for jobs, the idea of jobs was already shifting and changing as they knew. From absolute thin air (metaphorically) appeared job titles that never existed before, and that was just the start. This is where the chaos began.

Millennials were in the middle of wrapping their heads around evolution, while later generations were born into the evolving social media era. Meanwhile, the generation of stability was struck by this unstable, ever-so-evolving world at the fingertips era. More and more new-age people turned to new ideas of what life and career meant to them, and it is still evolving, changing much more rapidly than a lot of generations of the old can wrap their minds around. Do you know why this is essential to consider and understand? For a while, while the world shifted, there were suddenly young minds with no solid guides to follow but an arena of wild possibilities to run to. When we realise this, we see why millennials were often quoted as ‘directionless and lost’.

The Progressing Shift & What It Looks Like For Millenials

Deep diving in the Ocean, that’s what I can best describe how it may feel to ‘ride the wave’. I personally think every generation comes with a purpose of its own too, just like individual purpose, there is a purpose tied to generations too. And my guess is, Millennials are the generation of healing, while the following is of redefinition. While the millennials gamble their healing with the outdated past and unfathomable future, they are becoming the transition generation. Transitioning to adapt to a new world, create one’s own space, find one’s own idea of life and achieve what they define as success. Their generation may manage to walk on their self-defined path but the subconscious predefined ideas of safety, success and life, have often been found to challenge self-worth, resulting in an increasing number of people with imposter syndrome.

More and more people are turning to wellness, therapy and self-improvement in all senses. The millennial generation is shaping the new age work culture when it comes to careers. From work-life balance, paternity leaves to purposeful work culture and more shaping the career aspect. Each is set to define their own career and life path often swayed far away from traditional lives. This in turn will result in sometimes failing on expectations laid on by the previous generations. This looks like a constant loop of self-actualized life game tropes. This transition generation often will thus look like they’re in the middle of chaos. Although, the chaos is resetting the world slowly.

The world in terms of career and life seems to move towards more personal sense than done for family, country or an industrial revolution. This seems to be on the rise as we head on into future generations. It may sound selfish but this very transition of valuing individuality may lead us out of the herd mentality and ironically closer to a sustainable community.

The transitional chaos set by generation Y or millennials seems like the necessary thread of the evolution of emotional aspects of humanity as a whole. And while we understand practically why each generation stands where they do and why they face what they do, it is important to keep in mind that these give birth to powerful individual stories. So, whichever era you belong to and whatever shift you are a catalyst to, your individual story will always impact the big picture. And that, I think, is pretty cool! 

‘What do you want to be when you grow up, Priyanka?’ Every single year I had a different answer that the previous one. My dad would often introduce my wild passions as ‘she sees it and she’d want to be it. The other day she wanted to be a bus conductor!’ While I was a wild dreamy child, in my teens though I was known to be one of those rare kids who knew exactly what they wanted. In my early 20s I became a student studying every little thing with a purpose behind it. I realised my writing was as they call it ‘gifted’ but I didn’t want to write traditional blogs, I wanted to streamline it to specifically travel. Hence post-graduation in tourism after graduation in Mass Media seemed like a boss move. I had found my ‘niche’ before I knew the word for it or before it became the hype move. 

The kid in me still would love to explore more, evolve more and build more on what I already did. With my emotional evolution, I found myself drawn to stories of people, philosophy and emotions. Something with depth and far beyond the listicle trends. After decades of different answers of who I want to be, I hoped I would create my own job title someday. Maybe that’s how I built an entrepreneurial drive in me. Although there was more fuel to that one, but that’s for another blog. Creating my own job title maybe came as smoothly as it should for someone who plays around the words all the time. 

Also Read: What’s The World Like For A Writer

Conceptual Writer isn’t just a wordplay, it was something that I brand myself with. So there was heaps of thought development behind it. What I did under that name was not only do more of my impactful writings but realised, understood and imbibed what matters to me. Thereby, it easily spoke levels of what I think, who I am as a person and how I see the world. And even though this might be an uncommon angle commercially it paved my way to work with people whose work was about people, emotions and raw stories. In this choking crowd of commercialized capitalist society which writes what sells, there are some of us focused on the art and purpose of its creation. And oh boy is it difficult? I believe myself to be privileged to even have a choice, and thereby consider myself even more responsible to make the right one.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why I HATE Writing Trends!

Being a Conceptual Writer so far has meant very limited projects that truly resonate with you or at least raising a level of difficulty to find the right people to collaborate with. It also meant a lot of self-work. For being able to write what moves, touches and makes you feel something, should be felt, lived and understood by me, deeply. The title created this undying responsibility towards my art and took away the will to create something just for the sake of it. Coming up with a beautiful title for myself was far easier than owning up to it every single day.

Have you ever felt like you’re working hard on every aspect of your life only to come back where you started?

Certain decisions in our life are always spoken, thought about, and debated in and on with our own minds or that of a listening ear, but never acted upon. Each day the pattern repeats, you wake up breaking up with your bed, drag yourself out of the house, or in today’s context in front of the webcam, or just lay there thinking – why do I feel so heavy? Am I tired already? Did I not get enough sleep? I have a lot to do, why am I being so lazy? I don’t want to work anymore, I want to try something that I am passionate about. I don’t want to keep sleeping or do that repetitive job anymore. And then just like that, you start dreaming about how it would feel to work on something that ignites the fire in you, you know it will be lite af. You dream about the day you’ll type that resignation letter or start that Instagram page you have curated multiple times in your head and heart, and its 2pm, a notification shines on your screen and your dreams are scrolled over for that reel which just popped, and you keep doing this exact same thing day by day, month by month. Nothing changes. You on around circles and the unrealized but very real dreams remain within those constraints.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Don’t we already know what we want? Well, here’s the deal, our brain is wired to our comfort zone, it tries to protect our decisions every day. It’s instinctual to our patterns and aims that relaxing all our senses, by analyzing and reflecting our past choices and experiences. “I’ll do that after watching just one episode”, we give excuses and convince ourselves that the fatigue and extra stress after or before anything productive or unproductive is just too much work or you being lazy. What we fail to recognize that our neglected aspirations act up unrealized burdens and make us feel tired day by day.

Maybe if we try to observe and look into our decisions we will recognize that pattern, that pattern of immediately stopping when you feel unconformable to try something new, the feeling of safety washing over you, ” at least I know how to go around my rude boss, at least I have my movies and series to keep me company, at least I know what it feels to feel unhappy”

There is a lot going on beneath the surface other than just being lazy or unable to quit things that make us unhappy. What if for a moment we close our eyes and remember the times when we took decisions, decisions that made us move and try something different? Having that unmatched flavor of ice cream and immediately regretting but feeling not a bit of unhappiness for the decision you made?

Can we try to remember that feeling that comes after the seconds of uncomfort? Would it be worth it to experience those few minutes for a whole lot of adventure? To book that holiday, to open that art page, to apply for that job, to quit that job, or to go eat that pineapple on pizza.

Can we apply this same energy and go off at a tangent to stop going in circles?

I love you, I hate you, I love myself, I hate myself. I hate the world, I hate men. I met so many beautiful people along the way that in spite of a few bad people I still find this world to be an amazing place.

Words are beautiful and unimaginably powerful weapons. They have the power of creation and destruction. They have incredible healing powers and are equally hurtful too. Words are magic. In the right hands, they can change the world for the better. 

I can sit here today and rake to social media and “open up” about what problems life has actually sent across my way. I can give you detailed accounts of all of it. An endless list of 100 tiny situations and cry to the world but the fact will be that I would have done that just to gain attention. Have my 15mins of fame while pretending that I just want to show the world that I went through this and you are not alone. This little stunt is just telling everyone that let’s be sad together. This little stunt is not helping the world get better. The world didn’t change because people in tough situations decided to sit and cry for days and told everyone else let’s cry together. The world changed because those few humans, those chosen few humans decided I am gonna stand and fight against all odds. I am going to come out of this tough situation guns blazing and tell the world how I won. They gave the world answers. They gave the world words that would heal. The power of words. 

Side Note: You, yes YOU reading all this. You are an amazing, beautiful, kind and compassionate human being. You will always find strength within yourself. YES, YOU WILL. Breathe and take a break and let your mind show you where that strength is waiting inside that beautiful soul of yours. Let your mind guide you into your own safe space and you will see the magic unfold. You will feel that energy in your bones. You can already feel it. That tiny goosebumps that you are getting is a sign of that energy. There is more of it inside you. Let it guide you, my sweet beautiful human. Sending you all the love I have and I have plenty for you. I can’t heal the world but my role in your life is that of a healer and I will show you kindness and compassion when you need it.

Now let’s talk about naming every situation shall we.

Naming everything is so simple and yet a huge deal. I have this, I have that etc etc. You can never walk away from problems. There is no version of your story that will be without certain problems but in this version of your story, you will either call yourself a victim and keep talking about how things used to be and how you are always a victim now and how everything is a problem OR, BIG FAT F*CKING OR You can be a warrior. Not a survivor but a F*CKING WARRIOR and that is exactly who you are, you have just forgotten it. Warriors don’t look at what life used to be and whine, they look at what life has been till date, all the ups and downs and learn every possible lesson they can think of to fight every possible situation that comes along the way believing the entire time that THEY ARE ABOUT TO TAKE THIS VICTORY.

This is the part where you use words for yourself. When you open that journal of yours don’t just write about every little problem or don’t just write random positive words that you found online. You take that pen and start defining yourself as if you have the hand of God on your shoulder. You define yourself in the most unique way that you have been designed to be.

Words in the right hands will change the world for the better and that little world is inside your little head and you have the most perfect hands to use those powerful words.

You will always have the last word. It will always be your word against everyone else.

I was searching for an interesting topic to write about. On Googling, I stumbled upon such overly saturated, repeated blogs, videos and content talking about the same stuff in tweaked active and passive voices. One or Two tips added or removed or innovated and voila, there was a whole new expert content that you’ll need. Ridiculous! Imagine if that’s what we did in the Renaissance. Defined how to create a viral art rather than an art that stands out, matters or speaks volumes of the idea. Da Vinci, Van Gogh, Picasso, all trying top 10 things to make their painting first in the line! Ah! you get the idea.

Well, the worse of it is, these “overly-saturated” tips are legit. They really work to get more traffic, reach more audiences or rank your content on the google page. How absurd it is! I really don’t wish to hate it, because I know to navigate it through SEO and Viral Topics: I know how it works. While it gives equal chance for anyone to use these ways and make it work for them. But somewhere in these overly confined and repeated tricks, the art is lost in many ways. When I worked with individuals across the industry, I realised how some simply create these soulless spreadsheets of content. Countless topics simply based on trends or creating the next new trend. Most of them laid on the years and years of a ‘tried and tested formula’ of topic curation. For example, the one like our today’s ridiculous blog topic. (I say that in a comical sense.) So, for the sake of it, here are the reasons why I have more hate than support for writing trends:

1. Art Should Not Be Attached To Rules – Ever!

Writer's Life

When one defines rules before creation, it limits the creation itself. It can be done in any innovative spirit, yet it will miss out on the uniqueness. For example, the top 10 topics for a blog or how to create a viral blog! Ironically, the first top 10 results you will find under these searches will be of the same bullshit coated in different and fancier versions of wordplays. Some will find innovative ways to draw attention to the same rules of creating a blog that works/sells. Maybe, that’s why in some ways there is such a morbid word – ghost – attached to nameless writers.

2. Online Writing has Roughly Become Equal To Selling

Writer's Life

The motive of creating art has changed so much. Especially for online spaces, it has majorly become to sell something. Commercial writing and writing should have had a balance on the online space. If you observe, commercial writing dominates the market. The motive of creating art just to create has been lost in some ways. Maybe, that’s how writers who could have been timeless artists of their art in ways they haven’t tried yet, have become the master players of actives, passives and content banks.

3. In The Long Run

Writer's Life

All these countless work online, in the race of ranking on a search site will someday fall off on the dark spaces of page numbers no one looks at. And, most of them, will be forgotten. In the long run, we’ll create so many of these. While there is nothing ethically wrong with it because it must have served the desired purpose when created. But, in them, at least some would have been opportunities to set this system right. Maybe make it better. Maybe, some writers, who could have broken their rigid editorial structure and create a Renaissance of their own world.

4. The Abstract Struggles

Writer's Life

While there are some, who are making use of this online writing space to create something valuable. But in many ways they struggle to make to the audience they need. We’re in the world where writing is 20% of the work and 80% is selling and marketing; is considered normal. In this the soul of the art itself, however you try, will reach it’s 20%. On the lines of what I said before, if Van Gogh painted Starry Night because he wanted to make it a “top 10 painting of all time”, there’s 80% chance we wouldn’t have known about it.

5. Your Art’s Control Is Not Entirely Yours

Writer's Life

Write on what is trending right now, look for how many times the keywords have been searched, think about your target audience, here are what these top pages are writing on, etc. As an online writer of today, these are a few of many countless things you’ll hear, read or learn. While they are valid for every legitimate reason, many times, the magic a writer’s personality would have added to the art is lost in these well-stitched strategies.

I hope soon we change that and find ways, to just create. The online space can become a place where there is balance of artistic expressions and commercial writings. And it should come in ways where the artist doesn’t need to mould it’s art in the defined strategies to make it. Even Instagram in many ways is becoming a space where there are development of these subtle rules to make the ‘algorithm’ work for you. At this pace, we’ll lose track of when art was lost to a trend.