Sunday, November 29, 2009

Private Notes: How Sunday Posts May Change

I am on a review mode, because I don't want 2010 to become like 2009, a lost year. 2009 was rather unique in my life, a year which I spent in the permanent resignation mode, somewhat carrying out my responsibilities and not looking forward to anything in particular. The world in general has also spent the year in a PAUSE mode, waiting for things to get better, and to get moving. Whether my approach to life was shaped by the general mood, or I indeed contributed to the general mood, I don't know: Possibly both are equally true. But, at least from my personal perspective, it is time to come out of the cocoon, and get moving, take some risks and make sense of my efforts.

I have a pretty much straightforward agenda for 2010. That of staying in England and make the best out of the opportunity - to learn, to start a new life and to make a difference. I can not deny that England offers a range of opportunities which I would not have got staying in Calcutta, and I have always been too afraid of failure to seriously go after any of those. I have been waiting, in a sense, to reconfirm my decision to stay in England. It is as if I was looking for some sort of external approval, like God appearing before me and telling me that I have done the right thing. This was ridiculous, and yes, I knew it all along. But, I kept telling myself - true to my Bengali middle class roots - that I can ill-afford to fail. The fear of failure was so great that I kept doing things which I neither liked nor were profitable, because anything else would have required me to risk paying rent myself.

While all this was going on, this blog was my quest for purpose. What started as a writing practise became a core thing in my life, and I was consoling myself with the stray comments and few readers, who mostly knew me and wanted to figure out what I am doing, that I am pursuing a distant writing career in some way. It was fun, yes. But it was meaningless, too. Because, writing, like everything else, is not about the outcome - publishing and being read. It is about perfecting the craft, practising without being read, and only expressing well argued points of views rather than random thoughts. I lost sight of these simple facts, which I knew all along, in the exhilaration of seeing my writing live on the web with a click of a button, and more, some of the counters telling me that these are being read by other people. So, while I was living a clueless, mediocre life, I was fooling myself with the illusion of progress in a writing career.

As we approach 2010, this needs to change. I want to come out of the sense of compulsion that I feel every morning - that I must write something - that I practised while trying to follow Julia Cameron's advise of writing morning pages. I must move on to the next level - I must write something good or meaningful, develop a signature style - to make this blog writing make any sense. Besides, I must find a purpose in my life general, and do something meaningful.

Those who know me would know that while I am writing this, I am not unhappy or depressed. I have always been quite capable of self-criticism and I have an infinite capacity to remain optimistic. I actually think those are the only two positive qualities I have, though I am not sure what good these are in getting any work done. But, honestly, while I write this, I am neither thinking what a waste of time the blog writing has been [because it was not a waste of time, but a rather useful exercise at that point of time] nor how I face the people who have been saying this all along [because they said so for any new thing I ever tried]. Rather, my thoughts are on how this blog will evolve and what I shall focus on through 2010.

I shall change this blog to what it was intended to be, Sunday Posts. So, I am planning to start writing this blog only on Sundays, when I shall set aside some time to review the preceding week's prominent events and put together any other writing that I happened to do during the course of the seven days. I am hoping that this will allow me to write better and assimilate thoughts and reflections well. I am also hoping that this will give me more reading time, which I am struggling with at present, and write more meaningfully as a result.

I am also optimistic about what I do in 2010, which will definitely be different from the endeavours that I put up in the current year. I have been too hands off, almost in a state of hibernation. I am looking to get deeply involved in something, spending time 24x7 on it and pursuing my goals through it. Somehow, in the course of last year, I have got into a passenger mode, doing what I need to do but not trying to make a difference: In 2010, it should be a deliberate attempt to push my agenda through. I am also mindful that to achieve this, I must become more uncompromising with how I spend time. I have put up with time wasters quite a bit, which I must stop doing. These are people who are not necessarily bad or unsuccessful, but the ones who are rather the opposite, so full of themselves or so cowardly that they are unlikely to step out of their cocoon and do anything meaningful. Such associations, by spirit, belong to my past and I must now undock my life and move ahead. This will indeed be the single biggest challenge in the coming days: To make a clean break with the past.

I know there are a number of things that I need to do at my end. Starts with how I appear, invariably. I look my part - emotional, a touch eccentric, slightly lost-in-the-clouds intellectual. This is nowhere close to the man-of-the-world image I need. I don't look or talk like that person. I have so far consoled myself saying that trying to be someone else is too much of a waste of a person I am. But, then, I am not sure I have been myself. For so long, weighed by fear, I wanted to conform; I have never actually tried to be myself. So, to be honest, I shall try to stop trying to conform - and remain unnoticed, which I mostly try to do - and start to express myself more clearly. This should indeed change everything; I can't wait to see that happen.

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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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We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

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