“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I grew up as the eldest child of immigrant parents who chose to live out the American dream in the oddest of places, Oklahoma City. A great portion of my life was spent trying to live up to the expectations of my parents, molding my environment to make it more accepting of me and seeking to finally "break free" - in every sense of the term.

The wisdom that comes with age, achievement and exposure to the world has helped me achieve my first two goals. But breaking free has been the hardest goal for me to achieve because its definition keeps changing. Before I used to believe that it meant fame and wealth, but today I see the meaning as much more profound.

Now breaking free involves resisting the temptation to return to the investment bank I previously worked for and instead pursuing my dreams in the entertainment industry. With burdensome loans and an MBA degree, I regularly struggle with my choice. Breaking free also means making joint decisions with my significant other in spite of the frustration that it sometimes brings! Beginning to change my perspective from the single-minded "me" to a collective "we" has been a challenging, yet fulfilling experience.

Whether it involves a career goal or personal dream, I realize that following my passion is the most important decision I can make for myself. With each choice I make, I realize I inch closer to becoming who I was meant to be.

— Shibani Joshi