Lost with pleasure

Esther is a confused human being
4 min readMay 10, 2024

--

I know I’ve been talking about my being so lost for the past half a year. But the emotions stemming from it have also transformed over time.

In the beginning, I felt very fearful and tried to grab the first driftwood I could see, like everyone else. I hectically looked for a job, found a way to stay in the US, and worried about finances.

I’m not saying that these things aren’t important. But when I disassociated those adult problems from fear, I started to explore. I explored all the options that weren’t obvious. Through this exploration, I learned more and more about who I want to be and what I want to do. Thus, my internal self comes to peace regardless of the changes in external circumstances.

Rethinking Fear

What if I’m kicked out of the US?

Sure, because staying here can never be more important than addressing the issues I want to tackle in my life. The problem takes precedence, not the current reality.

What if I’m in great debt?

Honestly, I don’t believe I’ll be poor in ten years, regardless of where I end up. In fact, this is the best time for me to take risks and embrace failure, especially right after graduation.

And what about finding a job?

Following the standard job search process is the obvious path. But what about the unconventional and unexplored routes?

Consider this: my friend got into Google DeepMind with minimal experience and no PhD by intensely studying machine learning for three months and building his own PyTorch. Another person made $40K in a week because their app went viral, even though I’m pretty sure 80% of San Francisco residents could have built a similar app. Yet another person asked the CEO of GitHub for $15K to develop a robot to solve a sleeping problem that the CEO tweeted about. There are so many doors open to us that most people don’t even know exist on this planet!

Today, I want to congratulate my friend T for finding a way to stay in the US while pursuing her passion by collaborating with friends on contract work. She was laid off last year, but instead of frantically searching for security, she had the courage to design her own career path. Who says we can only rely on traditional methods?

Rethinking Being Lost

My friend Issac said that he couldn’t fall asleep when he arrived in San Francisco four months ago. “What should I do? What am I doing here?” he kept asking himself.

But as we’ve grown and experienced life, we’ve both come to learn:

People in San Francisco are smart, but they’re not “crazy geniuses.”

Google engineers, VCs, founders who’ve raised a lot — they’re not anything more special than us. They might know much more than us, but we’ve realized it’s not impossible for us to reach their level as long as we dedicate ourselves to learning.

We’ve met so many YC founders who’ve raised lots of funds but are just as lost as we are. “I don’t know what I’m doing, man. I just pivoted last week,” they’ve said. Honestly, everyone is simply exploring and experiencing life. The superiority of reputation and unimitable intelligence isn’t true.

Nowadays, being lost forces me to explore, innovate, create, and connect. I’ve begun trying more and more things that regular people wouldn’t think of. Each experiment has opened another door, allowing me to imagine the possibilities for my future.

When I told Isaac I was also lost, he said, “Yeah. But don’t you think it’s sooo cool? We’re freaking lost, but we have the opportunity to travel and explore the world and our genuine interests compared to people working on the same job for 20 years!” His eyes shined with excitement.

We often imagine that uncertainty will lead us to the worst possible consequences. However, it might actually be a great opportunity. An opportunity for self-discovery, to test and fail, and to learn and grow. I’m still not “comfortable” with uncertainty. But nowadays, I find unpredictability FASCINATING.

What might happen tomorrow? What ideas can I try tomorrow?

I’m still lost, but I’m getting much closer to my great work. I’m still lost, but after a year, I’m no longer lost with fear, anxiety, and insecurity. My chest is filled with the pleasure, curiosity, and wonder of this world.

Are you trying hard not to fail or try hard to learn how to fly?

This post is dedicated to my friends Issac & Trang, who are very brave from being lost.

--

--