Dear teenage me
Today as we’ve turned 26, writing for 10 years younger me i.e. you is both emotional and weird. Bringing in the perspective of time, a lot has changed (mostly for good) but it still feels a lot needs to be accomplished. If you feel everything will be ‘set’ once you’re 26, just know that your definition of set will evolve in coming decade.
If I remember properly, this is about the time you would be in class 11, staying in Kota preparing for JEE. I know the first question you’d ask me is if you made it to IIT. Well, I hate to break it to you, but no. In fact, you’ll try again in future to find your way in, but still wouldn’t reach there. But here’s the thing — you not getting into IIT doesn’t mean the end of world. So, stop staring at that ceiling fan. That route doesn’t work.
Not that I should be demotivating you but without being honest, there’s no point in writing all this. I know you're strong enough to take that reality. Also, that doesn’t mean you give up on your studies. The things you’re currently learning will help you for years beyond your college, especially Maths. But one advice I have for you is to start enjoying a little. Put those DPPs aside for a while and step out to play, make friends, bunk classes, talk to people, talk to girls. You being introvert didn’t help me much.
Talking about your college, while you didn’t get into IIT, you got into another prestigious institute — SPA Delhi. I know you haven’t even heard of it but Google it, it’s good. Also, you aren’t becoming a CS engineer but on path of becoming architect (that will change later). Seems like I’m bombarding you with plethora of bad news but hold on till the end. Good things are awaiting.
Well, I’m not going to detail out your college life as I do not want to give you a spoiler. But again, the same advice of take things less seriously and start enjoying a little will apply. I’m still salty about all the trips I could’ve made while in college and network I could’ve expanded. Take that as a hint to step out whenever you get a chance. Don’t worry about asking for extra pocket money from home, you’ll earn well enough to pay it back ;) Also, I know, preparation almost never helps, but be ready to witness some ups and downs, rejections, sleep deprivation, heart breaks, ragging (they call it interactions these days), new friendships and responsibilities. If you think you’ve seen it all already, trust me you’ll laugh when you’re my age.
While you will come out of college as an architect, you’d soon change paths to become a UX designer. I know I know, you have zero clue what that heck UX designer is but that’s not the point. Important thing is that life will steer your in directions different from where you’re heading and instead of being too rigid of your path, you’ll learn to swim along with the flow. That is something I really praise about you and am still proud of.
After all the bad news and advice about your future, I think it is about time I tell you about the good parts. From your career perspective, you’ll land up in company you dream of. Which one you ask? Well, I won’t name it already but it is founded by someone whose photo is on the poster hung in your hostel room. Yes, I’m not kidding. Also yes, that will happen without you getting into IIT or being a CS engineer. You’ll ace a national level exam (after multiple failures, obviously), switch cities by yourself, become financially independent, design and build a new home for the family and gift a car to your dad! All of this in next 10 years! If that doesn’t make you feel proud or motivated about the coming decade, IDK what will.
There are a ton of other things I want to write here. I want to talk about how you being serious with your work did help or about the time when your career trajectory changed for good due to an accident. I want to tell you about the year 2020 when everything changed beyond imagination and about your lost loved ones. But those things, both good and bad are better experienced than prepared for. While I’m bracing myself for the years ahead (I haven’t received any letter from my future self yet), I want you to be agile while doing so. Next decade is about change, so embrace that.
Also, happy birthday!