An Absurd Adventure

An Absurd Adventure


Two years ago, I set out on a big journey and moved from the streets of Mumbai to the canals of Rotterdam. I relocated for a Master's programme and it was my first experience of living on my own in a completely new country. Much like the characters in Albert Camus' works, I would often feel like a stranger in an unusual and unfamiliar world. It was at this focal point in my life that Camus' brand of absurdism became an important philosophy to me. It initially offered solace and insight into my attempt to find happiness in a strange new environment and now it offers me a lens to ponder on what is to come.
This blog further explores my reflections of the past and hopes for the future intertwined with some of my learnings from Camus' works. 

The transition to living in the Netherlands was exciting and inspiring but not without its challenges. Navigating a different lifestyle, understanding a foreign language, and even something as simple as grocery shopping felt like monumental tasks. In addition, immersing myself in academics was a significant part of my life. The rigorous demands of coursework required dedication and perseverance with late-night study sessions, group projects, and exams becoming the norm. I consequently struggled to balance demanding academic schedules, household chores while also nurturing a healthy social life. My happiness seemed to hinge on playing a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ with tasks and responsibilities that constantly popped up, rather than having the freedom to dictate my own priorities. 

Yet, these very challenges enriched my experience and fueled my personal growth. I was constantly reminded of Camus' words, "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer." This quote resonated deeply with me, as I found strength in the face of uncertainty, discomfort, and, more literally, the freezing cold.

Now, as I prepare to graduate, I find myself standing at another precipice of change. This moment is rather bittersweet; it marks the end of an era that began when I was very young. The formal education phase of my life is now well and truly over, and the likelihood of returning to the academic world seems slim. Despite everything, the past two years have flown by, and as I leave behind this structured environment, I'm filled once again with the promise of boundless new horizons. This realization has brought me a sense of finality but also a sense of excitement for what lies ahead. 

Camus' assertion, "Live to the point of tears" motivates me to embrace this new phase with optimism. By reflecting on my time here, I realized that every moment of uncertainty, every challenge, and every small victory has shaped who I am today. Living in the Netherlands has not only taught me resilience and independence, but also the beauty of stepping out of my comfort zone. It has been a journey of learning not just from books, but from life itself. 

Looking forward, everything in front of me seems like a wide, uncharted ocean that is vast, intimidating, yet full of possibilities.
And as I look to this ambiguous future, I am again reminded of a Camus quote "One must imagine Sisyphus happy”, which directs us to create our own meaning in a meaningless and difficult world. It also suggests that happiness and fulfillment are found not in the absence of struggle but in our response and acceptance of it. In embracing this absurdity of life, I plan to approach each new challenge with the awareness that it is in the struggle itself where I may find purpose and joy.

Camus' wisdom has guided me not only through my transition from student life to professional work life but also from someone struggling to grapple with change to someone who welcomes it. While the future is uncertain, it is precisely this uncertainty that makes my life so rich and rewarding. Finally, by imagining Sisyphus (and myself) happy, I can face the future with resilience, and a sense of hope.