At the end of the year, I tend to reflect on accomplishments along with the usual new year's resolution planning. I started doing this at the end of 2015 because that was the first year in my life I felt like I accomplished the most so far in my life. I graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in four years and got my first full-time job that allowed me to be independent. This allowed me to get my first apartment and live on my own for the first time (I didn't dorm during my college years, I still lived at home with my parents). But perhaps the biggest achievement of that year was finally getting a driver's license and my first car. Oddly enough I never thought I'd get a car because I was so used to public transportation since I grew up in NYC. But then I made the decision to move closer to the Jersey Shore where you have to drive (unless you want to wait hours for buses). And ok I'll admit I've always been a little bit afraid of driving. Okay, a lot afraid. And for me doing anything that lets me get over a fear is a pretty amazing accomplishment. And the more I think about it I realize the reason I felt so accomplished that year was not just because I was doing things I've always been scared of doing. Some of the things I did were expected of me by society. We go to college to get a job afterward to our related field of study. I learned to drive because that's what you do when your older than 16 in this country (I was 22 so a little bit late on that front). Moving out after you get a full-time job is typical if you can afford to do it. Of course, I realize that not everyone does these exact expectations because everyone is in different situations. As a matter of fact, in my situation of growing up in a Bengali household I was taught that I'm not supposed not to move out unless I get married even if I have a job to support myself (clearly I didn't follow that rule but more on that in another post).
I realized I felt the most accomplished that year because I felt I was finally doing what was expected of me. Whether I felt it was by society or myself. I've been itching to live on my own for so long it became the biggest expectation I had for myself. For some reason, I didn't give myself credit for goals I've accomplished that weren't expected of me. Goals and experiences I've done just because I felt like it out of sheer passion. Not to say being an engineer isn't a passion of mine. Being an engineer is a rewarding experience in itself. But getting a degree, a job, and then moving out felt like I was following a formula that had to be done in order to get the best possible outcome. And since I was able to follow these formulas all of the sudden I felt accomplished. But then when I realized that that was why I had a sense of accomplishment I felt like maybe I didn't really achieve anything great at all. I mean yea I'm just doing what everyone else does... so what? But you know something I learned in engineering school? That you don't follow a general formula to solve a problem. Every situation is different. Engineers are problem solvers that have to find the most efficient solution. And so the more I thought about it the more I realized that everyone is unique with a different set of goals and accomplishments. We are all like engineering problems that are being solved by ourselves by striving to accomplish our goals. And whether they are high expectations or things that we do simply because we enjoy them they are all important and deserve credit. The only person that matters that acknowledges my accomplishments is me. So I’m giving myself credit for the things I did that year. I'm giving myself credit for all the things that made me proud of myself in my previous years. And I'm giving myself credit for all the accomplishments that I will continue to do in my future years.