I have an embarrassing confession to make. Everyone loves to nap on the couch for time to time. Whether it is one of those nights you get home and just pass out or those lazy Sundays where you do not want to move, the couch offers comforting solace to many of us.
There is, however, another absurd reason why I sleep on the couch from time to time. I sleep on the couch when I am scared. I am not talking about ghosts and monsters here. This is a melancholy fear unique to adulthood. Sometimes, I feel like the world is a great big abyss, and I am just an insignificant soul drowning in it. I feel afraid and uncertain of the future. In these moments of fear, the couch offers me comfort and solace. It creates this 6 by 2 world around me that is much more manageable. It is a world I can fill up and occupy with my presence. It is a world I can control.
Another reason it comforts me is through nostalgia. I grew up sharing a room with tiny twin beds with my sister. Somehow sleeping on the couch transports me to being a little kid in Bombay again. Sometimes, I even wake up to the shadows of the Ashoka trees outside my bedroom window.
For this past weekend, I have been sleeping on the couch. Life works in mysterious days. While every bit of my days passed in excitement and anticipation of starting a new job on Monday, the nights have been spent traveling mentally back in time to alleviate the fear of the future. I never expected myself to be so terrified of the unknown.
Over the several years of adulthood, I have changed my job several times. While I have always felt sad to leave behind good friends and coworkers, I have always been happy to move on. This time around though, the transition has been difficult for two reasons.
I never ever invested myself in a job personally. I have always been highly professional, but impersonal. This time around, I let my guard down and let myself get personally invested in the people. Secondly, every other job I have landed in the past has been through the traditional job search means. This time part of it was traditional job search, but a major factor in landing the job was who I know and my reputation. It is not just my reputation at stake now, but also that of those who vouched for me. It is also one of “the jobs” that can define your career trajectory. So naturally, I have put a tremendous pressure on myself to meet and exceed expectations.
The first day is gone now, and I can breathe. I’ve leaped off the diving board into the deep end. I hit the water and realized that I have always been a tremendous swimmer. Now it is all aspirations for what is next. I’ve worked hard for years and gotten where I am. I deserve to take it easy and be proud of myself. I have the skills and work ethic to succeed.
I am also ready to joke about my career choices and how it defies stereotypical South Asian expectations. When I worked in the native restoration industry, I joked that I was the only Indian who immigrated to become a farmer. Now I can riff on desi parents, you don’t need to be an engineer or doctor to work with them. Law is the only one missing from the holy South Asian trifecta. Perhaps it is time to take that LSAT just for kicks? Also considering that in 2018 I will be living in the “theater district” of town (there’s a massive venue being built down the street), some power couple jokes are in order too.