*2 min bold reading

I turned 39 this year. I should be cautious and selective for what I do next. At this age, I must stay wise because making mistakes now can be very costly. In the coming years of my life, I wish to fulfill many goals and desires, yet I find myself hesitant to embark on these new ideas and journeys because there is always an element of uncertainty in challenging the unknown. When I should work on being prepared, I can’t help but to sometimes feel insecure.

What I do now is and has always been a dream job for me – toiling away on the front lines of American Foreign Policy. I love what I do! Sometimes I feel the thrill of pride running through me as I pass under the America flag, realizing that I myself am a part (albeit a minor one) of this vast and magnificently impactful work of the United State of America in Iraq.

The gravity of a good job has pulled me back to the Earth and slowed me. I cannot believe how quickly four years have passed, and I am still in the same place. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. I’ve made so many sacrifices. I am bereaved from my loved ones. I have missed countless occasions and holidays. I have grown apart from my family. And worst of all, I have become desensitized to death. Is it really possible that a dream job can actually feel like a curse at the same time? Has all this time been wasted?

But then, I hear about some of my friends who went back to America and opened up businesses. Or one friend who became a senator; or some friends who lost their money and came back. Or some got divorced and came back. There is this theory of relativity that makes comparing my situation to others’ situations unavoidable. When I visit America, I notice that everyone has their own stresses and inner demons that make them question their own situations, and that’s when I stop to feel so bad and uncertain about my own job. On the contrary, it convinces me more to stay at this job, despite the sacrifices I have to make.

I have grown accustomed to my job and am very comfortable with this lifestyle, so naturally the idea of change is a bit daunting. I demur every time I think I need to apply for jobs and go through interviews, take exams, or even pay for more certifications.

Maybe I have become institutionalized in Iraq. I am dependent on a big income. I am enjoying a unique job that requires a very select skill set that I have and has become easier over time. I can afford the opportunity to travel wherever I want to in this world. And I get free yummy food on a daily basis. If I were to leave this job, I would need to change my way of life, and that’s when being 39 makes change tougher to swallow.

But wisdom and experience tell me that there is no way to stop change from coming. Albert Einstein said, “Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” The truth is I don’t know what to do next. All I know is that whatever that next step is will have the potential to be more rewarding than what I do now. And my curiosity has allowed me to start with reading.

Book Covers

In the past few years, I have started to read voraciously, 400,000 pages in Baghdad. The hot, dry desert and constant Iraqi wars can be devastating on the mind and make you thirsty for some type of intellectual stimulation to make you feel human again. But I have enrolled at the University of Life at amazon.com and the books have quenched my thirst. My boundless curiosity has led me on a relentless pursuit over the past four years to read all kinds of books that have made words my most meaningful treasures.

Books and stories are my escape. They are my comfort. They inspire me. I learned on the shoulders of giants of Amazon’s many things…

And living inspired has opened my eyes to countless goals I can envision in my mind. Creating a successful startup business? Traveling? Reading? Working out? Writing my own book?

Perhaps I am living with the curse of wanting it all.

But instead of viewing this as a curse, I am going to view this as an opportunity, as a challenge to figure out how to effectively combine and intertwine them all. I know what my passions are. And what my insatiable desires are.

There are many forks in the road that lies ahead, and I really don’t know which path I will follow. But what I do know is this: “Let things come to me” – the doors to the right paths will open.



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