“Ae dil hai mushkil jeena yahan, jara hatke jara bachke.. ye hai Bombay meri Jaan..” the song almost startled Chloe as it rang on a passerby’s phone. As she turned around to give this person a disgruntled look, Kim pointed towards Chloe’s almost empty cup—the contents of which were now all over her dress. “Ughh! Great, now I have the additional work of cleaning this mess,” said a visibly irritated Chloe. Taking mercy on her dear friend’s predicament, Kim quietly poured some of her Coffee into Chloe’s cup. “It can happen to anyone. You are just having a bad day, Chloe”, said Kim. Chloe simply gave Kim a grateful smile and said, “Now that I think of it, I actually do like that song.” Kim chuckled and made a circular gesture in the region of her temple, to say: ‘you are mad!’ They both laughed it off and sat on the pavement at Marine Drive, sipping their coffee, enjoying the golden hour view of the Arabian Sea. The sunset was so beautiful that none of them had the heart to break each other’s reverie.
A year ago, 25-year-old Chloe from Pune, tired of monotonous work, had left her well-paying 9-5 job as a Software Engineer, to pursue her passion for writing. Chloe had always been a closet writer and often found solace in getting her thoughts on paper after a long day at work. She started writing short poems and articles on her social media. Amazed by her creativity, her friends motivated her to consider a career in writing. Chloe was apprehensive at first—she started utilizing her weekends for writing and contributed to a few online magazines. This is when she gained confidence in her craft and realised writing was something that she loved doing; it did not feel like work. It was time to make that career switch!
In the hopes of finding decent opportunities, Chloe decided to move lock, stock, and barrel to Bombay. Her childhood friend Kim, who worked as a sous chef at a popular restaurant, was already settled in Bombay and was more than happy to share her apartment with Chloe. Kim and Chloe had been friends since the age of six. They went to the same school and had seen each other grow over the years. It was only when Kim got transferred to Bombay, that they were compelled to part ways. However, they kept in touch and finally had the chance to live in the same city again! The two of them had been staying together ever since—experiencing the pains and pleasures of adult life.
Initially, when Chloe shifted to Bombay, it was tough for her to get accustomed to the new lifestyle. The shift from being a Software Engineer to a writer was indeed a drastic one; But Chloe was determined to give her best and work towards her dream. She started off by taking up a couple of internships and utilized all available resources to acquire the necessary skills. Eventually, she managed to get placed at her dream company. She was extremely happy to finally transform her passion into a profession.
However, for the past couple of months, she had been finding it difficult to produce great work. There were days when she was overflowing with ideas, but there were also days where all she could see was blank paper. This was quite unnerving. She grew anxious and started putting in extra hours of work. The fact that she lived in a different city, away from home, added extra pressure. In Chloe’s case, the stakes were even higher; She had left the security of her former job, to take a huge pay cut and settle for something which barely made ends meet—all these thoughts left her completely stressed.
Chloe was going through a Creativity block. Getting her ideas on paper seemed like a Sisyphean task. She was drowning in self-doubt and started questioning her decisions; Did I choose the right field? Am I even a good writer? Will I be able to sustain in this field of work? These questions began to haunt her day in and day out. Kim did the best she could to support her dear friend in every possible way. The two of them often discussed this topic together. By then, Kim was privy to most of Chloe’s thoughts.
One winter evening, as the duo sat to enjoy a delicious pasta cooked by Kim, Chloe asked, “Kim, do you think I made the right choice by quitting my secure job to pursue writing?” Kim gave Chloe a thoughtful glance and reassuringly said, “Chloe, first of all, there is no right or wrong choice. It all depends on what you make of the choices offered to you. I have seen you work so hard to explore something that is completely new to you. Yet, you did not falter. You stepped out of your comfort zone and followed your heart. This decision of yours is in no way whimsical, Chloe, because you still do have a backup. You have your savings in place. So just hang in there; give it some time. You don’t always need to give your best. Sometimes, being mediocre is okay too! Be patient with yourself.” On hearing these words, Chloe instantly felt better. She wondered how her friend was so sensible and always just knew what needs to be said, at the right time! Kim’s words were like a warm blanket on a cold winter day. Chloe graciously thanked Kim and gave her a big hug.
The next day, Chloe woke up in a surprisingly cheerful mood! She gave good thought to every word Kim had said the previous night. When she went to work and got stuck with something, she made sure to take a short break. She started dividing her day into small parts and observing her most productive hours. She even started giving some time to herself and going for a walk whenever stressed. Tiny changes like these eventually built the foundation for great habits. She noticed an improvement in her work. Although her life was still not what she had pictured it to look like, she was still proud of the person she had become.
She was okay with not being okay!
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