Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
I pressed Stop and pulled the tray out from the oven. The hot air followed: a homogenous scent of dark chocolate, caramelized brown sugar, and vanilla. After sprinkling a generous amount of flakey sea salt on top, I waited for a couple of minutes. (The hardest part, if you ask me.) Then I took a cookie and took a bite, allowing it to define the moment of being. Alive.
The next day, I brought a full container to share with friends. Watching them devour and enjoy something I made from scratch was the final step to complete this cycle, and what truly made it all fulfilling.
I’ve always loved the process of baking; it asks you to act with intention, with care, with precision. I may be moving fast to someone watching me sifting flours and powders together, beating eggs and pouring them into the mixture—but to me, I’m moving slow, almost without thinking.
This flow I feel when baking is what I also crave while working. Many times work feels forced, like something I have to do—something that makes me worth oxygen in the eyes of society. But after graduating from university just as the pandemic started, working—for money and to develop a career—almost repulsed me.
However, me being me, I judged this repulsion. I judged it for existing when I should be working, paying bills, and sorting out my career. I should be establishing myself, my name, and I should be able to help my parents or family if they ever needed financial support.
Yet I didn’t want to. And the rebel in me grew when I saw the excessive amount of hustle, girl-boss, keep-going-until-you-reach-your-dreams content on social media. Manifesting that 6-figure income became a trend, a cult that regularly recruited people to start working harder than ever before and hustling to materialise their financial wealth into the world.
Let me make this clear: I’m not against people wanting a luxurious lifestyle. I’m not against people working for the life they want. I’m against the propaganda that says it’s the only way to live a fulfilling life. I’m against the idea that we have to work robotically at the expense of our own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
So when I started Being Baked, a gourmet cookie business that raises awareness on mental health, I saw a current of tactics I was up against. Many times I felt alone in that struggle. How can I possibly build a business and manage it in ways that align with my values?
It took a while for me to accept that I was going to do things differently. I had to be the one who defined what success, fulfillment, and work looked like—and it did not look conventional at all. I faced challenges while implementing strategies that aligned with my vision, but what helped me was reminding myself what the sum of my efforts contributed towards.
However, staying on this path felt like I was the only one prepping the soil, laying the foundation, and adding the bricks. I was on a one-person construction team. Luckily, it was only some time until I heard about antihustle and started working in the team. Creating content around what work could be, instead of should be, meant that people who didn’t sit well with hustle culture would spend less time worrying about how things would pan out and start enjoying their own process.
I’ve learned that it’s through this alignment, this worry-free possibility, that I’m connected to that familiar flow.