Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reflections and Interests (Day 1 of 100)

First weekend back home, so far, is just as I wanted, organized, unhurried, free. I spent the day reading The Economist, something I wish I could do every weekend, and catching up on myriad other tasks I enjoy doing. This invariably means postponing some of the things that I must do, such as preparing for my Monday classes and preparing the expense statements and suchlike, but I still wanted a quiet day after all the excitement of travel.

Such days allow reflection, which is very helpful. I could pause and think of what I am doing now. We are six weeks from launch of our services in the new business, which is simultaneously exciting and nerve-wrecking. I am slowly getting in sync with my new life - no compromises, just focus - and finding it the greatest education I could have ever had. Living through, things that looked important before, such as getting the Private Equity backing, is fading away into the horizon: I am discovering the very real purpose of life, creation of a great 'product', a truly global education experience for those who study with us. 

In fact, the more I think of it, my anxieties become less intense. The tension give away to this wonderful pleasurable feeling of being immersed into something interesting. Indeed, my financial worries are easing slightly, given the traction the business is starting to get, and I am hoping my sacrifices for last six months is now entering its final phase. I hope, soon, the additional work and revenue will help me get back to a normal person's salary. But this relative anxiety-free weekend is not linked to my bank account, but rather comes from the enjoyment of meaningful work, that I am in charge of my life (however precariously) and I could do what I enjoy doing.

One of the most interesting thing that happened now is that the things I really liked doing, such as reading, meeting interesting people, learning and working with new technology, are all back at the center of my day to day life: These are things which I am expected to do. No more of the compromises I had to fit around, that hackneyed thing about stepping out of comfort zone or 'developing people skills' (the other name of corporate politics), I now fit around work around me and I am so much more productive therefore.

My reading list is now full of things I enjoy - technology, innovation and stories of business creation - and I am feeling light enough to try read Science Fiction, once my favourite that fell by the wayside once I started making numerous adjustments to live an average person's life. I am ready to push the reset button on mediocrity - too many things I do I am only moderately good at - and take the plunge on being great! For this, my formula is to focus on my strengths, solely and single-mindedly, for the next few months; I indeed accept I have several shortcomings, but - I am like - one can't be good at everything and I better spend time on being really good at certain thing rather than being the proverbial Jack.

The other thing to restart my life is to reach out and meet interesting people. Many of our daily correspondents are those who we meet by default - I would insist on calling this default rather than serendipity, as in most cases, there was no search involved - and there is a big, exciting world full of people out there, which we may miss out on if we don't search enough. In my own life, I have benefitted greatly when I searched and reached out: People from many backgrounds and cultures, who I met completely at random, often online first, have enriched my life and made living so interesting. I am planning more of this randomness. I am planning to turn up in interesting meetups and also taking time to travel, as much as I can. I am also, and this is where I am possibly too bold, planning to learn a new language, so that I can explore a new country and culture better.

And, finally, I am learning technologies all over again. This is indeed something I loved, and this is what gave me my career, which I started as a System Administrator of all things. But I drifted somewhat, after the demise of Unix and when the world was taken over by Windows, into other things. I enjoyed the outside world, all these things about knowing new people and seeing new things, but the possibility of being able to create new things with code excites me. So, late in life, I wish to learn to code again. I am realistic, at my age, one has to be: I am not in the running to become the world's greatest programmer. But, indeed, I wish to recover my own ability to code, at least have my own sense of the possibilities, rather than having to be told by someone, who may or may not know, what may or may not be possible. A sincere friend told me that this is not a good use of my time: But, here is what I think - this is my kayaking or skiing holiday, my own adventure sports, and whether or not I do it well, it does not really matter (I shall break no bones while programming). 

So, in summary, this is a very special time and I am trying to make this one. Watch this space! 

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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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