Flâneur

Recently, I’ve been living at home while working at Rutgers.

While walking around campus, I often run into acquaintances or old friends. The usual exchange is a bit of small talk followed by a subtle question of what I’m doing with my life.

I find it hard to describe what I’m doing. Primarily because it’s evolving with each experiment I run. This is typical of a flâneur but hard to describe to people who’s world view revolves around stability.

A flâneur is someone who, unlike a tourist, makes a decision opportunistically at every step to revise his schedule (or his destination) so he can imbibe things based on new information obtained. In research and entrepreneurship, being a flâneur is called “looking for optionality”

—Nicholas Nassim Taleb

The typical narrative of a college student is to go to school, study hard, and get a job at the top of their fields.

When you violate that narrative by dropping out, working on countless projects that seemingly have led to nowhere, and are still found on a college campus working on something new, it’s hard to describe why.

Nevertheless, I persist.

I tell them about the latest iteration and why it matters.

The uncomfortable feeling of pursuing something new and being misunderstood for wanting to won’t ever go away.

At this point, I’m used to it.

The lesson I’ve learned is no one cares until what you do materializes.
Find the people who do care and keep them close. I’m fortunate and immensely grateful for having such people in my life.

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