A twenty-five-year-old girl spent five and a half months at her sister’s house in the suburbs of New Jersey, United States…
I am not your regular millennial who has left family behind to follow my ambition. I have no interest to work hard and follow my dreams, in fact, I do not know where my passion lies, nor do I have the courage to do something about it. I wrote this post to show the world that not all of us are successfully living the dream. It is okay to suck at life. This is not complacency, but rather an acceptance of who you are. View everything as a learning experience, not everyone has to be an overachiever and receive hundred plus likes on social media because you got into a university. Do not feel bad because you cannot tag an airport to show you are leaving your home country where great adventures await in a foreign land.
I am very much in India, staying with my parents at the age of twenty-six. I am not ashamed of anything. In a world that shoves down your throat, stories about foreign education through social media, my post can be considered; one that is honest and from which, many shy away from talking about. Don’t we also deserve an equal ‘showing off’ and adulation on social media too? Just because the routine is to study abroad, does not mean you cannot go abroad to visit your family. I hope my post generates a healthy, open discussion of this sort of Indian millennials.
——This is a story about an individual who did not go abroad for higher education but stayed on the sidelines and watched others move away. I went to America as a half tourist and a full-time babysitter. Do not get me wrong, I love my niece and nephew to bits but babysitting is what I was left with for a majority of my time, while on a tourist visa.
A handful of both my school and college mates have gone to the United States and other countries such as Spain, London, and Italy for higher education. For me, it was an intimidating move. A decision of this stature meant taking on more work than was necessary, for instance – multiple exams, student loans, and other aspects. Given that I had reached a somewhat satisfactory point with my education and job, I certainly did not pay much attention to the prospect of studying abroad.
Thanks to the omnipresent social media, I loaded my brain with all the happy, successful moments that my friends posted about their experiences of living life in a foreign land. I had completed my Master’s degree in the same city I was living in with flying colours. However, I continued to ponder over what it could have been like if I too had taken the leap. I did not feel regretful so much as I felt FOMO, the fear of missing out.
I began to think my life was empty and depressing. The enigma, and the thrill that encompassed ‘going abroad’ was perpetuated when my sister, who is older to me by eight years, got married and moved to the United States. Like any other household that has children living abroad the parents of the couple become nannies. My family too had my mother visiting the USA for a period of six months, (the maximum amount of time that is allowed for a tourist visa).
One time, I hit a low point in my job and that is when a trip out of the country – to Thailand with my best friend, came to the rescue. During this journey, I began to take notice things down to the tiniest of detail. My FOMO had disappeared during the entire time I spent travelling. Afterwards, I visited America when my sister announced the birth of her second child.
The first thing that hit me about America was its vastness – empty and wide, open spaces. The expanse of the sky too looked massive. My fantastic memories included- my first concert (Global Citizen Festival), witnessed fall and snow, explored NYC and the casinos at Atlantic City.
There were some eventful moments when I was indoors as well. For example, my two-year-old niece was fiddling with the landline. Her fingers hit the buttons and a couple of minutes later we found a cop car pulled up at the front door! Turns out, she dialled a number starting with 911!
It is a matter of fact that I spent most of my time babysitting but ‘facts’ do not cover feelings and the life lessons. I learnt the importance of moving out of your comfort zone and to let go of your personal superstitions and fears. There is simply no reason to believe that I wasted those months. I loved, lived, laughed, and soaked up the abundance of love, my niece and nephew showered upon me. I learnt how life in a foreign country can be challenging. The stunning photographs of nature and the seasonal changes is a delusion as the extreme high and low temperatures are brutal. You can find yourself helpless and lonely most of the time; life abroad is not always picturesque and perfect as it is seen and heard.