My batch of peers who are returning home from our three years venture in the United States is currently active seeking employment. Thus with it came the quandary of finding a job that not only fits one’s personality, but also one’s educational background. Unfortunately, the right fit seldom comes by.
For me, I believe in two things: rizq and happiness. I don’t easily go for the job that pays the most at the expense of my happiness. If that had been my line of thinking all this while, I would have immersed myself in the study of medicine five years ago—but the thought of becoming a doctor does not make me happy.
Neither does the idea of doing something I am not passionate for in the name of stability.
I believe that rizq comes in many shapes and sizes, and material wealth is just one of them. Just because I would probably spend the rest of my life fighting for a cause that does not pay well does not mean my life is utterly doomed.
Yet, it still breaks my heart when the following question is asked regarding my impending internship: “How much does it pay?” They didn’t try to understand what an amazing opportunity it would be for me to intern with one of Asia’s top think tanks; they didn’t try to understand that this is what I signed up for when I chose political science as a career path; they didn’t try to understand how happy the thought of working with the best brains make me feel. There will always be costs and benefits to everything, but the benefits don’t always have to be in greens.
Sure, you can either do what you love or learn to love what you do. Both equally excellent advices, but I would rather let my heart be the leader than be led because I believe that if you find happiness in doing what you love, it will be difficult to find yourself feeling empty once everything has come to pass.
Maybe I’m not being realistic, or maybe others are simply too pessimistic.
As a result, I find it baffling when others are baffled by my lifelong dream which is to be a stay-at-home mom. For as long as I can remember, I have always talked about being married and becoming a mom—not just any mom, but a suri rumah. I find it to be the most rewarding job to be able to raise your own children and to watch them grow up. It may not be the most financially ambitious dream; nonetheless, just the thought of it gives my heart such pleasure. It is not a great compromise at all.
In summation, as Muslims, we believe in the concept of rizq. We’ve heard stories of the rich man who goes to bed feeling lonely and the pauper who enjoys the warmth of a family in his small hut. Happiness is subjective and there are many winding roads to choose from to reach that feeling of contentment we all crave.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to one word: priority. My priority in life has always been to lead a life that I am proud and happy of, even if it may seem unconventional to most.
It may be a mistake to have spoken mightily soon about the future, but it is not a mistake to dream of one where wealth is just a commodity that could keep you sheltered from an increasingly soulless existence.