Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Getting Back to Work

I did stop writing personal notes on this blog. I wanted to make it more professional. But that made me, as I realised on reflection, write long, rambling posts on ideas that are personal, which may not have much consequence as I am not living them. In that sense, personal is more professional on this blog - at least that reflects my lived experience - and I intend to get back to doing it again. 

So, here am I, at a seemingly interminable red light at a crossroad. Stopping so was an admission of failure: That my ambition to create an world-changing education outfit failed. I desired a recovery, after a fairly intense few years of bootstrapping when I flirted with bankruptcy and lived precariously doing contract teaching and occasional writing, and all those 'bourgeois' comforts and ambitions that I so heartily disliked when I had a comfortable life, became so much desirable by their absence again. So, as I hung my hat - in fact, ate my hat would be a more appropriate description of what I did - and went back to work, I promised myself that it is only a stop-gap, a project! 

All this to tell myself that I must get back seeking significance again. That giving up was not about giving up, but a temporary pause, one step backwards in preparation of two steps forward, eventually. But, then, such stepping back can be eternal. One must not underestimate the lure of banality, the power of that ultimate enemy of significance - comfort! All the things that define us in our usual lives, our possessions, can bind us forever into mediocrity. Even if I am fully aware of its danger, that loss of apetite for anything out of the ordinary that come from chasing the ordinary, it is too powerful a force to escape from. So, stuck in a red signal at a crossroad, this lack of motion is reprehensible and adorable at the same time.

I have always sought to escape comfort, force of habit. Only that kept me from being consumed by the otherwise straightline prospects. The question for me, now, is whether I have changed. Whether that one last outing was too much, whether it has burned me so deeply that I have now given up. Besides, living precariously takes away some of the romantic attraction an unlived adventure may present. I know now that there is very little purpose in the life of an adjunct teacher at the very bottom of an educational food chain, and the self-inflicted heroics of living a life of one's own choosing are often no match of the sinking feeling one gets looking at students who just wants to know what time I would finish! At those moments, the banality of middle class parties, all those chatter about children's school, game's score and mortgage's rate, may suddenly appear infinitely more desirable. Once I have accepted that as the medicine of recuperation, the question really is whether I can go back to living intensely again.

I present it as a thought, a choice, but it is not. Mediocrity, the pursuit of survival, or even comfort, is hardly meaningful the way I live. In a sense, I am an exile rather than an expat, and this is by choice, with deep affectation for home, staying away not to avoid discomfort but to escape being normal. Seeking a sweet life, so abundantly available all around me, is not any more a legitimate goal than a mountaineer seeking to get atop a mountain in search of a mojito. The point of whatever I have done in life is to find a purpose - or, in terms of blown-up American rhetoric (which I have grown somewhat alergic too - those overblown ways of speaking in superlatives!), to make a dent, in whatever! There is no going back for me to the self-contained cycle of life, one defined by mortgages, pensions and passing away.

So, I get back to work. It is time to declare the hibernation over, recovery complete, reflections done. The safety mechanism, so sensibly boring, has had its time, but any longer, and I shall be in a nitrogen-sleep. It is time to dust off the tools of transformation I know - make a 100 day plan - and seek another adventure. And, part of this is to find my voice again, here, and to resurrect this blog from inside its professional envelop to its tentative, but faithful, tone.

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How To Live

"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

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

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