During lunch, I spoke with a colleague about how I my work term was going so far. I told him that I didn’t really have a huge interest in Microsystems, but I didn’t hate it either. I feel more or less indifferent towards the subject. Because of this, he asked me what I wanted to do. What field do I want to work in? What kind of work do I want to do? Do I want to stay in research or go into design? I didn’t really know how to answer those questions. This colleague is older than me by probably seven or eight years so I was quite sure that he had been through the same ordeal at some point.
A lot of advice people typically give are similar in the way that they just say to follow one’s own interests. Apart from saying that, he also asked me what my goal in life was. He clarified his question by giving examples such as being super rich, or doing something that people will remember me for when I die. I already knew my answer to this question.
My goal in life isn’t anything grand. I don’t need to be able to afford a Porsche or a Ferrari. I’m not looking to change the world. My goal is just to lead a happy life. Well everyone wants that. But different thinks make different people happy. For me, it’s the idea of leading a chill life, not how many Porsches and mansions I can buy. As I said before, money can’t buy happiness, but the lack of money can’t either. I believe it’s about having enough money to not have to worry about it. Yeah, rich people don’t worry about money, but that’s not what I’m referring to. Take my family for example. My parents own a house, two cars, and are able to send both my brother and me to university. When we go out to eat, we don’t have to worry about the money. I’m not talking about only these things specifically. It’s about not having to worry about every penny being spent. People don’t have to be super rich to do that. In a way, it’s like always having enough money to go out with friends for a few beers. I suppose with a goal like this, I chose the right major. The next question is what field in engineering I will work in.
After I told him the way I wanted to live life, he told me his view on it. He started by saying how he didn’t like staying in one place a lot and likes a change in scenery every now and then. He was born in Germany, but he’s worked in the Netherlands and in Switzerland. By going to all of these places, he’d get a lot of life experiences and moving around is what he enjoyed. He’s following his interests and that is certainly good. He then added when he’s old and sitting on his rocking chair, he will be surrounded by his grandkids that would ask him about his life. He wanted to be able to tell the kids stories of his youth and listen intently and enjoy his stories until the kids get tired and fall asleep, but he would know he lived a fulfilling life if the kids come back again and again to hear him talk about all the adventures in his life.
I never heard anyone put it like that before. Everything he said seemed so profound and I probably did a really bad job replicating that here, but the stuff he said really got me thinking. From something like my future career path, he managed to dwarf that entire issue and expand it to the idea of how to live life. Telling interesting stories to my future grandkids sounds pretty cool to me.