Last year during the 2nd covid wave, a lot of my friends left the country. I was also confused and was exploring my options. Then my friend Brijesh told me to think about what I want out of life, unbundle my life, see what I am not getting here, and then evaluate if moving to Europe/ SE Asia will get me those. Not get swayed by the current emotions. Yes, a lot of my friends left. Does it mean that me moving to the US will make my life better?

I was discussing my life choices with a mentor. He was telling me that I was making a mistake by not moving to the US. And then during the discussion I suddenly blurted out “Kitna bhagunga yaar. I thought becoming a PM would solve my life, give my life some meaning of life or something. I did not enjoy coding that much, and I would be happier. Then I set money goals. Once I have X in my bank account, I will be content and wouldn’t want more money. Then I thought SPM would be it. Then Lead PM. Then GPM. But what if I become a VP and I still feel that it is not enough? Now we are discussing the US. And if not the US, then may be moving to Canada, getting the TN visa, then working in the US. Starting up there. Then maybe when I am 40 I will be will be happy. I would have made it. But have you realised how happiness always feels one year away, a future goal.”

I still don’t know if I made he right decision by staying back. Every 2-3 months, I see another one of my friends moving to Canada or the UK. The migration of talent is real.

Another one of my mentors told me that the only reason someone should stay back here is if their income is growing at 3 times inflation. The real inflation is far higher than the 7% that is thrown. And once you move up income brackets, the tax you pay goes up like crazy. Sure, the labor arbitrage in India gives you an advantage. You have more free time. But when it comes to making more money, note that inflation and taxes eat up a lot of the incremental salary you make. This means unless you are crushing it at your job, growing faster than you would at a job abroad, maybe even starting up and swinging for the fence, it would be a better decision to move out for a few years, get a stronger passport, and come back. You can always come back and work as a person of Indian origin, but you would have optionality.

I thought a lot about this. But Canada is cold. And who wants to move to Amazon and slog for a few years just to more to dreary cold Seattle. UK? Maybe.

I always deferred on buying things for myself because I thought why bother. I will move to a new house/ new city soon. I maximised on savings because I thought once I had saved X in my bank account, I will be free somehow. This is the reason I continued staying in a single room in a 2BHK with a flatmate even though I could get a house for myself. I also never bought things for the house.

Why bother?

More possessions = Less freedom to move.

But where was I moving? What was the final destination? I did not know.

Our parents went to college, got a job, got married, had kids. Settled. Bought a house. A place where they belonged. A house fulled with things that gave them joy. They set roots. While I was always running. From one place to another. From one job to another.

I sometimes ask myself if I have run enough. Let me finally sit and enjoy what I have. Live in a house that feels like mine. Set up the home gym I wanted.

A friend of mine bought his house, one of the stupidest investments according to Twitter, but he finally lives in a place that has been turned to suit the life he wants to live than the other way round. And I think he is very happy. It won’t compound at the rate that makes fintech gurus happy, but it is a place where he will create memories. A place where his kids will grow. What price do you put to memories? A a house that you can truly call your home?

I do want to stop living in the future and start doing things in the present. And yes, I am finally happy with the house I live in. I now buy whatever I feel will improve the quality of life in the present than worrying that it will be something that will tie me down.

This does not mean I will never try another job. Or move to another city. But I won’t trade my present for the future.

Fun fact: My friend Gokul actually nagged me till I upgraded my lifestyle a bit. When you are born middle class you find it hard to get away from scarcity mindset.

There is no structure to this post. No key takeaway. Take whatever you want from this.