Short note: fraud

Stuck inside on this snowy, snowy day, I find myself mulling over my future and accepting, unwillingly, what I have been denying for quite a few years:

Knowing what field I want to be in does not, in fact, amount to knowing what I want to do with my life; moreover, knowing I have plenty of options does not amount to knowing what I want to do with my life; and, quite frankly (say it now, say it loudly so you can get this through your head):

Talking about how many things you want to do in your life definitely does not mean you know what you’re doing with your life.


Why do I call myself a fraud? Self-perception. Despite my lifelong issues with, uh, being who I am, the one thing I’ve always been proud of is the fact that I realized very young that I wanted to go into politics of some sort. And then I got complacent. Actually knowing what realm of politics I wanted to go into has changed a lot since I was 12, and even now I find myself two years away from a Bachelor’s Degree, contemplating my graduate career, slowly realizing what it actually means to be an adult, and staring down (at least) two distinct career paths.

Why do I call myself a fraud? I guess because I (think I) come across as someone who is self-assured and assertive. What would it mean to the people for whom I’ve asserted myself as a mentor if they realize I’m not as confident in my future as I seem to be.

Why do I call myself a fraud? Because, likely, the above is me tooting my own horn.

Why do I call myself a fraud? That doesn’t make much sense. Being lost is something everybody goes through. Is it part of a bigger delusion of grandeur that I think I am unique in the “implications” of my own confusion? (Actually, that does make me a bit of a fraud but in a different way.)

Why do I call myself a fraud? One day I’ll tell people (including my family, other Pakistanis) that I want to come back home as a foreign service officer like a good patriot, devastated as I am about the lost potential of a country born of trauma. Some other day I’ll be enamored with critical theory and the macro of international diplomacy and wax poetic (hah) about how beautiful the world is and what my place in it is. Is this a career crisis or a personality crisis? Who knows. Fraud.

…but why do I call myself a fraud if what I want to do with my life is be kind?

Everybody is a little bit of a fraud, but that’s only because we’re all constantly going through changes, internal or external, whether in sparks or cascades. Change is beautiful, change is human, and I suppose so long as your change does not lash out and become ugly and cause you or others pain, what’s wrong with being a fraud?

Why should I have to know what I’m doing with my life when my life is in constant flux and my decisions meld and flow to fit around a shifting framework? What you’re doing with your life doesn’t begin and end with your degree or your career choices, and if there’s anything I’ve learnt from my limited working experience, eight hours of your day are just that: eight hours of your day.

The rest of your life does not play like a gameshow where your decisions are locked in and cannot be changed or impacted by anything else. Certainly, commitment is necessary and important and I have talked extensively about the benefits of routine inthatoneTEDxTalkitrynottoremember, but considering myself a fraud because I am still growing as an individual is unfair.

Being a fraud is not an identifier. Fraudulence is an aspect of human experience fraught with flux. But you are not a fraud.

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