Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Day 9: First Steps

This week is running much better than the last, so far. Things are getting resolved in a way. Matters are coming to a head. People are saying No. So far, in two days, I had two people telling me that they don't want to go ahead with projects we discussed last year. A straight, unambiguous No, which leaves a lot of past work undone, but invaluable in moving life forward. The New Year has finally began.

This evening, sitting in my usual Tuesday workshop at the UCL, I realized another thing that needs to change in my life. So far, I have been playing a part imposed upon me. In our discussions about learning as transformation, the Course Leader touched upon and I discovered the deep significance how learning can be liberating and help me achieve what I want.

In fact, I am in a bit of an introspective mood right now. I know there is no point living the life as I am doing now, a sort of a mid-air existence: I can't fly and I can't fall. This is what gets reflected in my search, which suddenly seems to be more about my cowardice than about my courage. I simply did not have the courage to commit myself single-mindedly to my goals, and hence, searched around all my life to find an alternative way to achieve that.

I can say that I was led into this road by prescriptions handed out to me early in my life. I can say that all this was shaped by social expectations I grew up with. But that says nothing about my own initiative, my effort to defy the gravitational pull of the existence I was destined to default into. I take pride in being unconventional, risk taking; but it may as well be construed as an effort to escape, rather than transform, my destiny.

This is why learning plays a role. It goes deep, beyond the technical necessities of such an exercise, and helps me unlock my mind and think my life through. Growing up in a patriarchal suburban family, I always had problems with authority. I was driven by free will, quite stubbornly so, and always hated when I was told what to do. And, as one would imagine, in my growing up years in India, I was always told what to do, for everything.

I have hated that since then, and have been trying to run away from such plight all the time. But I was running to wring places - from one job to another - which had, alternately, nastier and nicer people telling me what to do. I have spent some years working in mid-sized companies, which prided themselves about their industrial era processes, and always tried to fit me into one of their boxes. And, invariably, I grew tired of being fitted around and after a while, I left for another, newer box. The funny thing is, while at the hindsight, the futility of it seems obvious, it is never so straight-cut while you are at it.

However, I am on my Karl Marx moment now: enough explanations, the point, however, is to change it. So, what should I do? I know the usual mind-numbing excuses are all popping up: After all, I have to keep paying my bills. But, that surely is an excuse or a statement of no-confidence in my own ability to pull things off.

So, if I overcome the fear, how would my life look from now on? I think this is the way it will go:

From now till March, or may be till the end of these 100 days, I shall focus on organizing my life. I have left so many loose ends as I was rushing madly behind my project for last three years. I am starting to run into the debts I incurred during travelling and my finances need urgent sorting out. So do my learning projects, where I have a lot to catch up on, and my books in general. So, this 100 days are really meaningful - I should close my eyes and just focus on getting my life back on the rails.

Beyond March, I want to pursue my interests. Yes, this means living without a job, in a bad market, but I am hoping that I shall be able to create a portfolio of work to be able to pull myself through. Initially, I was thinking of creating the Open College; however, for the moment, I am scaling back my ambitions and trying to start on a small learning technology and content creation outfit. This is within my means, and I think growing from small roots is the way to go.

Yes, there is a significant chance of failure and I am mindful of this. However, I am at a tipping point and it does not help me to sit back and fear. I shall go ahead and fail if I must. But I should not try to return to the comfortable existence of a meaningless job. If I have to work, I shall create something worthwhile - a project which makes real difference to a great number of people. Or, go into teaching and writing full time, which seem to appeal to me. At this time, I know what I don't want to do: Sit around and waste my life just because I did not know what to do with it.

No comments:

Popular Posts

Last Words

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.

- T S Eliot

Creative Commons License

AddThis