I have made it a habit to live my life in 100 day chunks, and one such run finished yesterday. When I started the last one, indeed, I didn't know where my life was going. My brother's untimely death completely threw me out of gear, and I decided to lie low and not to do anything new: Just survive, was the motto of last three months.
But this was meant to be temporary, and I am at the end of it now. It sort of coincides with my birthday and completion of a year in my new job, sort of milestones by themselves. So, I wake up at 5am this morning and resolve to start my life afresh yet again.
In a way, such renewals keep me going. Often, the pressures of life - the fact that I am parched in England while the life became more difficult for my father in Calcutta, now that he is almost alone - get to me. I have left home ten years now - 16th January 2001 was when it all started and I knew I would never go back again - but always lived with regret for having done so. In a way, it was something I never loved doing - because I loved home and everyone there - but something I had to do, to see the world, that is. In a way, all of it makes me a better individual, all this struggle, regrets and engagement, but that feeling does not make it any easy for me to live on.
One thing for sure: I never wanted to be comfortable. For me, comfort is death, a sort of thing that consumes me with boredom. So, I have always invented things to do when it was becoming too comfortable. I can't say it always paid off - indeed, at times, I wished I did not do it that way; however, with hindsight, it all looks good and I safely gloss over the details, the blood and the sweat bit, and live with the nostalgia.
So, here is a new start, a new 100 days perhaps. Of being unbound, shall I? I keep going back to Robert Frost - Miles to go before I sleep - and I am too painfully aware that I have not made any difference to anyone in life so far. All I have done is traveled around, and what I keep saying to others - life is not a time to pass, but to employ usefully - is not what I have tried with mine. In a way, I lived in a waiting mode: But now, my grey hair and creeping tiredness tell me that it is time for closure, of doing something meaningful.
I must admit that I love what I am doing now, trying to build a Higher Education institution that will make a difference. This is so much better than my mercenary life only a year ago, hawking unsaleable stuff in the name of its British origins, and doing all sorts of cowboy stunts for the sake of my employers. What I do today gives me the feeling of moving towards a greater goal, which is important. It makes me feel like making a difference - which is indeed the point.
Also, two years into my adult education course, I feel confident and knowledgeable about the subject. For this, I have paid a great price: No holidays, even no time off at the weekends, for two years. The only distraction I have permitted myself is writing this blog, that too only by getting up at 5am and stealing some time from myself. I am coming towards the end of it. I have two more coursework to go this year and then a module next October - one on learning environments which is taught mostly in the British Museum - and a Dissertation, which I have more or less started writing. So, by January perhaps, I complete my requirements for the MA, which is part of my journey into the world of HE.
In this hundred days, however, I shall take a different interim goal. Completing the coursework is how this will start, but two more things will remain at the heart of it: One, the start of the new school for which I have now worked for a year, and to which we are quite close - we are looking a a mid-July start. Two, I shall need to ratchet up my knowledge on technology-led learning - I have decided to focus on this as one thing I really want to learn well - not just the technologies themselves but all the perspectives and theories of learning that surround it. In my mind, that's what I shall do in future: Build a great institution online once I am done with my current agenda of building one in the physical form.
Also, there are a number of questions that will come up and I have to answer clearly. Do I go back to India? Not really, because I haven't yet completed my agenda to see the world. I shall go back one day, but not before I have traveled to and lived in North America for a while, which is the next thing I wish to do. Do I continue studying for a Ph D? This is definitely something I wish to do, commencing 2012, after I have taken a few months break and had time to meet friends and family next year. I am hoping that my sister will come to England next year with my newborn niece and I shall surely keep a few months clear for them. But, yes, I am prepared to give it another three to five years, during which period I would continue to stay in England, and I am quite looking forward to do a research on Higher Ed, something I have come to love.
In the meantime, then, I keep writing the blog but start the life all afresh today.