Hard Truths To Carry Into 2021
A personal & blunt take on how loneliness is a function of our self-worth, relationships expire & the depth of our lives is a choice.
I’ve been contemplating on whether I should publish this piece for a while now since it is rather personal to a certain extent, but I figured that there’s no harm in sharing if it can help someone else who may be struggling with the same things as I. Life isn’t always sunshines and rainbows anyway.
My friends never fail to remind me how much of an inspiration I am to them, but they fail to realize that I am only human as well. I live, laugh, love, and lose just as much as they.
So for what it’s worth, here are some of the hard realizations I’ve had in 2020.
#1. Our loneliness is a function of our self-worth. Don’t pin it to work.
Tinder, Bumble, Hinge — I’ve tried them, and ditched them.
For the past 2 years, I’ve attributed loneliness to being single. I blamed my vulnerabilities, traumas, disappointments and mistakes.
What I have come to realize is that it wasn’t because I’ve been single — but because I’ve pinned my self-worth to my work. Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey — going on dates was me trying to fix my problem with a wrong solution.
I’m not sure how many founders or entrepreneurs feel this way, but my emotions have been in direct correlation with the performance of my startup.
Context switching and loneliness aren’t exactly new concepts (I write about it here), yet as much as I am aware of them, I experience and feel them just as strongly. When my company (Gulliver) does well, launches successfully, receives incredible feedback, the joy is truly unparalleled. However, the lows during the journey hit you just as hard.
Yes, I’ve had a team — or multiple people working with me throughout the course of the past two years as we have pivoted and iterated the product. However, none of them were here to stick around — there were always either better opportunities elsewhere, or a misalignment of life goals. While these people remain good friends and I’m genuinely happy for them, the fact still stands that I am running a company and their departure does hurt in one way or another.
Because people keep leaving, I’ve held on to the narrative that I wasn’t enough as a teammate. Many have told me that there many great companies were founded by a solo founder, the one thing i’ve taken away from being in and out of a stable team is that it’s more fun and rewarding building things with others.
People say millenials are the definition of a burnout generation, and that so many of them are “walking college resumes”. This year, I’ve learnt how detrimental it can be to your emotional stability if you pin your self-worth to your work. Especially so when you’re in something as unpredictable as a startup.
Sticking to a 5am morning workout routine is great, but so is sleeping in till the sun shines on your bum.
Reading and writing a lot are fantastic, but so are the blackout nights you have with your best friends.
Focusing on work and pushing for constant growth is spectacular, but so are family dinners on Sunday nights and random walks down the street in the middle of the night.
Go easy, strike a balance and be kind to yourself.
#2. Relationships have an expiry date — Be stingy with the right people
This flows pretty nicely from my first point which glazes the topic of people leaving. A couple months ago, I wrote a piece on how all relationships have an expiry date and how what we see in others is a reflection of ourselves.
If anything, circuit breaker (aka. lockdown) has forced many of us to be more introspective. It has broken certain relationships just as much as it has created new ones. People are transient, whether we like it or not.
Be intentional with what and who you bring into 2021.
Don’t apologize for your feelings, or lack-thereof. Speak your mind, because you never know how long someone can or will stick around. Be it due to changes in feelings, relocation, or even death — people are transient.
They come and go, and we need to learn to accept that.
Make the most of the time you have with the people around you, don’t be stingy with your time when it comes to the people that truly matter.
#3. Pursue Depth in Life
“It is not length of life, but depth of life.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
A life lived in depth is a life lived openly, one lived with a heart that gives love freely and receives it effortlessly.
So many of us carry the weight of past traumas and fears of getting hurt again. Being too careful is a fault in itself — live a little and embrace the love, grief, joy, pain and chaos. You’ll appreciate the highs in life so much more when you’ve gone through the lows.
The length of life isn’t always a choice, but the depth is.
So live yours richly, vibrantly and fully.
Appreciate the little things, slow down, test the waters of your fears, and challenge yourself more.
If it makes you happy, it doesn’t have to make sense to others.
Happy 2021 y’all! ❤