Into the wild

Into the wild. The tragic story of Christopher McCandless who went off to Alaska to never return. A couple of weeks ago, one of my friends started quoting the movie on Facebook quite frequently. A few months ago, I was asked by my friend to watch the movie. I remember starting it and switching it off for some reason. I think it just wasn’t the time to watch it or read it yet.

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So when I did watch the movie, I was struck by a very different kind of melancholy. It may be stem from the fact that I could understand that boy although not agree with him. The need to push ones limits, look for some of truth, any sort of truth, to find some sense, literally some sense in what happens around us all the time, to know and understand that there is a power beyond us, call it nature, call it God, which is so much easier, so much purer, so much more beautiful than what we’ve seen in our entire lives put together – is a thought and a want that would haunt anyone of us, anyone of us who has dared to question self and the core reason of our existence.

The book illustrates so many more youngsters who have done the same thing. What connected them? What made Jon Krakauer feel so empathic towards a soul who is just cursed and misunderstood by so many people? It is probably the knowing that at an age, all we desire is the need to know is that the world is much more and much greater than us.  That all that is wrong and will wrong in our lives is miniscule and probably irrelevant compared to it. May be it is the need to know that there is some that is still untarnished and untouched. Something that just….still remains pure.

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For some of us, dealing with imperfections and moral defects in those around us is much more difficult. Our desire to make things perfect, overpowers our ability to be humane and compassionate. It becomes very easy to judge, forget that we too may make mistakes sometimes and sometimes imperfection is a sign of being human.

May be I connected with that boy, only because I know how difficult it is to see those who we hold to high moral standards err. To know that we lead and we will continue to lead an imperfect life. I just wish he would’ve realized that before he made fatal errors and returned to world to tell his tale instead of Jon Krakauer or Sean Penn having to do it.

It is not personal.

On a rate of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, advertising will always score very low when it comes to job satisfaction. And by job satisfaction, I mean a feeling that assures you that you are doing something good, for yourself and others. In fact, I had read a study a couple of months ago that clearly stated this. Most people in advertising, aren’t the most happiest. It is very rare that I have come across someone that is truly passionate about it. Or really does think that advertising is a profession that does some good. It is absolutely no wonder that earlier generations never thought of advertising as a worthwhile career. Why would anyone? What is it that we do at the end of the day? Sell stuff to people. And sometimes entertain them. What good ever comes out of it?

I was recently asked if I had a problem or value clash with working for an alcohol giant. It was exactly the question I had been struggling with since I started working for the brand. I drink.  But I don’t drink like most people. I don’t drink to get drunk. I don’t have need to be high or every time I have some alcohol, I don’t look for being high or drunk as the end result. In fact, lately, drinking is something that doesn’t excite me at all. Am I marketing alcohol directly? No. I can’t even do that legally. What am I marketing? May be a lifestyle. May be a bit of greed. Am I okay doing that? I’m not really sure. I think I can never be sure.

If I am someone who isn’t sure about my profession to begin with, how can I be sure about a brand? I have nothing against alcohol. But I do have something against alcoholics. So I don’t think the brand is an issue here. My issues are with larger things. Like values, beliefs and existential stuff. Like what exactly am I doing with my life?

I think being confused is an intrinsic part of our lives. I think I am someone who will be confused about things even when I am old and grey. So this doesn’t really bother me much at this moment. It is something I will figure out with time and experience. But there is a question that I do need to address right now. And that is what do I want out of the job that I am doing right now. If I have to earn and this is the only way I know how, what do I do to ensure that I am not as miserable as I have been lately.

To start with I don’t want to feel like I am fighting a battle everyday and I’d like to do what I was hired for. I like writing. And everything that has to do with it. As long as my life revolves around it, I am happy.

I think I have passed the age/phase where being at work like a workaholic was exciting. I love work even now. But I also value having a life. This is something only a lack of a (personal) life can teach you. The value of it. I don’t want to work like a mad person anymore. I want to enjoy work. I want to value it.  Not treat it as a job. Not that I ever have but I think that is where my problem lies.

Everything I do is personal to me. And that is what makes me so passionate about work. But when it becomes personal, everything that goes wrong in that sphere also becomes personal. Every win is personal and every loss is personal. And that is what causes this deep unrest every time things go even slightly wrong.

Learning to disassociate is a long and tiring process. I repeat this to one of my team’s junior writers every day, it is not personal. Nothing that happens at work stems out of personal vindictiveness or negativity. At least most of the time it doesn’t. I wish taking my own advice wasn’t so difficult. And I wish I had someone repeating this to me when I was as young as her. It is not personal. It shouldn’t be personal.