Monday, December 22, 2008

Preparing for 2009

I am taking a week's break, first time in two years. Moreover, I am taking this break in Calcutta - staying home without any prior commitments - and this must be a first in more than five years. This feels suitably new, and enormously exciting. I am not a lazy git, but this break allows me a pause to think and plan. And, I haven't had a chance to pause for a while.

I come to this break with a plan. I have realised three things. One, I have made a number of mistakes - in my personal and professional life - in 2008. The good news is that I want to correct my mistakes and move forward. This is what I wanted to do during the next seven days - reflect and learn and plan ahead.

Two, during all the excitement of my daily life, I missed out on what is important. I have ignored my health, lost the initiative on professional development and the sight of a final goal. I lived my life one day at a time for far too long. I desperately need a bit of long view - an evaluation of all my priorities in the context of where I am going.

Three, in the absence of a real goal, I have made up many goals, and pursued multiple things in the last five years. This never helps, and this is getting nowhere. Time now for me to stop and get rid of most of the opportunities I am pursuing, to focus on the important few.

End of the year is always a great time to do this sort of thing, and fortunately for me, this break has come in very handy. As the year comes to a close, several mistakes I have made have come to the fore, mostly in my personal life, but some professionally too. What I have to hope for now is a clean break with the past, and imagine as if the life gets over on the 31st December, and reboots on the 1st January. I read on a poster - Today is the first day of the rest of my life. True for me, word for word.

As I said, I am in Calcutta, and I clearly know that I feel happier, more respected and connected while I am in India. My stay in England allows me enormous opportunities to learn; but I am convinced that spending the rest of my life there will be a mistake. I know the advantages staying in England will bring, but I don't want to live my life for a pension.

This will be a significant challenge. I know one relocation is enough for a lifetime, and I am already planning for my second. [At the bottom of my heart, I still want to do a few years in the States, though I haven't planned for or done anything so far towards that direction.] I would allow this a considerable length of time, 12 to 18 months is the current plan, and hopefully come back by the middle of 2010. I am confident that I should be able to manage this transition on my own terms, but I have to get started - and this is what I shall be doing over next few days as well.

Breaking my vow, I shall turn Sunday Posts again to a Private Diary, and write the story of my second relocation here. Coming back to India must combine with a rediscovery of India, and of myself, so I shall not be too much off the track anyway. However, keeping track of these days, ideas and the challenges will help me later to trace my steps back, useful as always.

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"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."

- Theodore Roosevelt

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And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

- T S Eliot

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