Thirty-five year old British-Iranian Yasmin Green, a mother of a two year old Zeba, works at Google’s think-tank Jigsaw. She’s the head of research trying to solve issues like internet trolling and among others, ISIS recruitment. Her image in this month’s issue of Vogue is particularly striking. She’s not dressed up like a nonchalant hag or a stereotypical hoodie wearing techie. Her sense of style seems deeply immersive like well made chai. And she’s out there, each day trying to change the world. My first reaction was almost depressive (what am I doing with my life?). After distancing myself from it, I hope my optimism will take over sometime.
Image via Vogue
Adulting: What Am I Doing to Change the World?
At a much younger age it was easy to be a day-dreamer and just imagine that I’d change the world when I grow up. Slowly, as I’ve dabbled with multiple paths, I’ve begun to understand that each opportunity comes with hard-work, trade-offs and compromise. It’s impossible for me to have the confidence and brightness that my 20 year old intern possesses at work. It’s incredibly hard to answer- “what difference am I making today?” The stakes are much higher and so are my expectations of my own self.
My ambitiousness about life and idealism about touching lives seems so tragic when I see how much more people are delivering. I’m not on an unhealthy comparison curve but on an inspirational chase. After largely wasting my 20s (in hindsight), I feel intense self-pressure to make the next decade count.
Compartmentalizing lives (and to-do lists)
There are so many to-do lists that I simultaneously work on that I am finding it harder to finish things. Even if I make a plan, it’s hard to stay disciplined and not lose the battle to time. It’s hard to eat the frog each morning (e.g. do taxes) and stay accountable to my own goals.
I’m trying to compartmentalize, but often my head is like Mari Andrew‘s nightly thoughts. I feel like a kohlu ka bael moving in six am to ten pm circles all week. Each time I get into the mode of doing something creative, ten other things present themselves. Although deadlines help, I feel like I live my life between tasks. I need to find a way out of multi-tasking.
My version inspired by Mari Andrew’s illustration linked above
All sorts of creativity from exercising to writing to cooking require pockets of silence. Doing anything that causes a tangible change in the world or touches lives requires uninterrupted attention. You’re a lucky Yasmin if your day job allows you to do that. Normal adults with regular jobs have to climb the sour dough mountain to get somewhere meaningful.
I have been unable to let go of the illusions of greatness and grandeur, despite being inspired to do so with films and Arles. It was easier to be laid back and let things be in Europe. America comes with its opportunities but also the need to latch on to them and consistently do more. More possibilities come with greater responsibilities. I desperately want my super power to be mindfulness. To be fully present at one place without worrying about a thousand other things.
Onwards to cooking dinner now as I think about my dinner diary project and more chai. Tell me this gets better?