Just 10 minutes before the deadline would pass, I gathered my thoughts, mapping all the possibilities in a desperate attempt to find the best possible path for my future. I could stay in India, sit for the prestigious UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) exam and become an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) Officer entering the world of bureaucracy or perhaps even an IFS (Indian Foreign Service) Officer and eventually a diplomat to some other country. Or I could accept the offer that I got for my Masters in Civil Engineering Programme at NUI, Galway through the PAC (Postgraduate Applications Centre) and pursue my dreams, the profession I loved, Civil Engineering. It was the Summer of 2017.
The first option seemed to be the appropriate choice. Most of my friends chose it. I would stay around my family and friends, eat delicious home-cooked food every day etc etc. I mean you get it! I would be in my comfort zone and carry on with my life. I considered it especially because I had never travelled in an aeroplane before, never lived away from my family before and never been in a “what’s for dinner tonight” situation. Life would’ve been sorted. Everyone’s life eventually is. This was the logical choice.
But somewhere down the line, my heart faintly asked, “Anuj, I know it’s gonna be scary, but would you be happy?” I knew I wanted this, but it meant getting out of my comfort zone and facing these challenges head-on. It meant I had to cook myself, leave my family behind and meet strangers every day. I asked my heart, “Would it be worth it?”.
”Probably” was the answer.
You see, when the decisions that you are about to make in your life end with a result whose outcome you cannot predict, that is where the possibilities become endless. I knew that this was the opportunity where I would have full control over my future. I could make it or break it. What’s more empowering than to know the fact that you have that opportunity to ‘build’ your life?
Despite this, one thing was for sure on which both, my mind and my heart agreed. I would regret forever, not making this life change. I had the offer in my hand, visa documents prepared, funds sorted out and flight tickets just a click away. Did I really want this regret of not making a life change on my deathbed, knowing my life would “probably” be how I wanted it to be? My parents came into my room and my Mom said, “If not now, then when?” The decision was made. It was a clear victory for the decision to make that life-change by a score of 3-1.
Today I am Ireland, graduated from NUI, Galway and working as a professional Civil Engineer, living happily knowing that I had made the right choice.
Somebody rightly said, “Regret is the most powerful feeling in the world”. True it is! Regret over not making that life change is more powerful because it will stick around till your last breath. Your life could’ve been something had you made that life change.
The real trick is to not miss the opportunities that come in your life in the first place, if you’re lucky enough to be able to take them. Don’t procrastinate because life begins at the end of your comfort zone.