Saturday, September 29, 2012

Down, but not Out

So remember the exciting new phase that I was looking forward to? Well, it didn’t happen. I don’t want to get into details, but let’s just say that this Big Change that was supposed occur in September, which would put me in a very exciting place in terms of career and location, didn’t quite work out for reasons that were beyond my control. I’d been looking forward to it from January, and couldn’t wait for the year to go by and for September to come soon enough. But when September did finally come, it brought with it the news that the Big Change wasn’t meant to be.

Of course, I’m very upset and extremely disappointed. I’d been dreaming about this for the whole year. I quit my job end of last month in anticipation of this. I shopped, I went to Bangalore to bid farewell to my friends there, I bought flights tickets, I spoke to movers, I made a to-do-list. I went on holiday, and then went home to Vizag to spend time with the parents before I was off. And then I found out I wasn’t going after all, that it wasn’t happening. 

I could even now probably go and join back my old job, but I think it’s time for me to move on. This job has been quite an experience, but I think I’m ready to move on another role now. But I need a break before I can plunge back into work again - I had imagined the Big Change for a whole year, I can’t just go back to work now as if nothing has happened.

I’m in Vizag still, and keeping myself very, very busy. Nike and I are planning a long holiday somewhere. The end of the holiday will coincide with a two week family trip to Malaysia for Cousin K’s wedding. I also need this time to think through what I should do next that will best suit my long term career goals – I have a number of interesting options ahead of me, but I want to make a careful choice in terms of what fits in with my career plans.

Meanwhile, here is what has been keeping me busy in Vizag for the last couple of weeks:

  • I’m taking a course “History of the World since 1300” on Coursera. For a huge history buff like me, this course is absolutely fascinating. It’s the second week into the course, and I’ve learnt about Genghis Khan, the Black Death, the Ming Dynasty, Christendom and Islam, Discovery of America, the Columbian Exchange, Colonialism and the Baroque Era. The course is offered by a fantastic professor from Princeton University. I CANNOT wait for the next couple of classes. The best part? It’s completely free! Do check out www.coursera.org – they have close to 200 courses across a wide range of subjects, offered by professors from some of the world’s best universities; and all this absolutely free. Do, do, do check it out – I cannot recommend it enough! 
  • I’m finally brushing up on my very rusty driving skills (I use the word very loosely here). I go driving for an hour every day. Of course, considering I am driving in Vizag, I’m rather sceptical about this practice being of any use if I have to drive in a bigger city with more traffic. Still; I had been developing a massive mental block against driving, and this driving practice has been very helpful in removing that mental block to some extent.
  • I have also taken up a home improvement project of sorts. If you know the condition of my house, you will realise how physically demanding this project is, and also, how impossible it is. The maid and I spent three days just to clear up the guest bedroom and convert it into a room for Nike and me. One day was spent cleaning up and re-arranging the dining room. Other little projects – removing an AC from one room and replacing it in another, clearing up and re-arranging the open shelves in the parents room, dusting and re-arranging the books on the library shelves, getting a new side table, getting the dining chairs repaired, getting new bath curtains etc. – take up a few hours in a day. I belong to a family of hoarders; Amma leads admirably on this front, storing every little thing that strays into the house, even if it’s just a pamphlet from a few years ago. Samee is not far behind, refusing to throw away toiletries even if they are beyond the expiry date. And Dad just keeps piling up his old papers; convinced that they will be of some use in the distant future (he is probably dreaming of a time when paper will replace money or something). I’ve mercifully been spared this vice, and in fact, am quite ruthless about disposing things that I feel are of no use, and have almost no attachment to material things. But clearing the home of a family of hoarders is still quite an uphill impossible task. Our maid is quite wonderful – very enthusiastic about all these projects and extremely efficient. But for all that, I’m sure she’s counting the days to when I would leave.  
  • I'm reading quite voraciously too. I’m right now in the middle of a five part series on Genghis Khan by Conn Iggulden. I keep breaking the series up with lighter reads like Wodehouse or Georgette Heyer, and it feels good to go back to my old reading habit after what seems like ages. 
  • I have signed up for an online volunteering project. I am yet to receive a final confirmation of whether or not I have been assigned to the project, so I don’t want to talk too much about it before that happens. But I hope it works out, and it works out soon, because I am excited to be working on it. 
  • I'm also spending quite a bit of time thinking about what I want to do next, researching possible options, talking to people in the sector. I have a tendency to just go along with the flow, but I have over six years of work experience now, and feel that my next move will be very critical in terms of the direction my career will take. I don’t want to do anything hasty at this stage, and want to think through this very carefully before deciding on what to do next. 
  • Some amount of my day goes into day dreaming about the long trip we intend to take next month. We are so far considering the US, New Zealand, Europe (which will mostly be the Balkans), and Asia (Bhutan, Thailand and Myanmar). Sometimes, all our talk of these distant and exotic lands convinces me that we aren’t actually doing this trip, but just discussing this to pass the time, and cheer ourselves up – the exchange rates aren’t helping either! 
  • I'm also FINALLY getting the time/energy to finish off a lot of little errands that I have been neglecting for many months now – getting new lens/glasses, submitting documents to the bank, redeeming credit card points, settling outstanding bill – little things like that which I tend to neglect in the daily business of living.

Phew! I think that’s about it. I had actually added a few more on my wish-list (specifically, swimming classes, and a community project) but I don’t have time to do this much. I’m trying to wake up early so I have enough time through the day to do all that I want to do. It helps to make to-do lists for the next day before I go to sleep, and I get a huge kick from ticking them off the next day. 

I can’t say I’m happy. I’m just not unhappy. I think I’m over the disappointment, but something happens to remind me of it, and I feel blue for a little while after that. But nothing can keep me down for too long. For now, I’m fairly content with my busy schedule, in fact, rather pleased with myself because I’m doing so much in my break, and I’m looking forward to my holiday and to whatever will happen next.

P.S: Does blogger have the world's worst formatting or what? It took me so much longer to format this post that to write it! (It shows, you say?) I've been thinking of moving to wordpress for a long time now, and this stupid formatting is really convincing me I should just do it.

8 comments:

Aditya Marathe said...

Hello!

This is a wonderful blog I just landed on :D Tough to find bloggers who've been blogging since those early days, no?

Anyway sorry this comment is out of context for this blog post (and I meant to write this on your About me page, which unfortunately I could not locate)... but I tried visiting your Travels' blog and it says link not found.

:(

Also subscribing to your blog :)

Aditya Marathe said...

Oh and you should move to Wordpress ;)

Preeti said...

*Hugs*!
And man! Whatay vacation plan that is! Enough to get you out of any kind of depression! :D

Very impressed with how you handled all of this..I know, I for one, would never have been able to do that! :)

chronicworrier said...

Hi Ramya,

Thanks so much for writing about Coursera. This is a fantastic resource; I've already signed up for my first course! Would have never known about it if you hadn't mentioned it here. So, thanks again!

haathitime.com said...

Dude what happened?! I was as excited about your next-big-thing as you probably were for yourself..sniffle.. Im sorry it didnt turn out like expected. But it doesnt mean you can never do it again right?

And on to happier things: that *is* really impressive, the list of what you've been up to. Its a helluva lot more than i would ever have achieved if I were in your place. heck for the last 6 months all I wanted was to quit my job so I would have time. Now Iv quit, and I *still* feel like there isnt time. And my want-to-do list of things is ever-exploding.

And man, coursera? Sounds like something I should check out now..Could do with some academia for my rusty self..

Just move to wordpress. It.Is.Awesome. Take it from an old time hardcore blogger lover who turned into a wordpress addict.

*off to check out coursera*

Ramya said...

@Aditya: Thank you for those very nice words! That travel blog has (typically) not been updated for years and has gone dead, I'm afraid. A new blog coming up :D And considering that this whole blog, with its 170 odd posts are all about me, I thought it would be rather over the top to add another about me page.

@Preeti: Thanks for the hugs. Am on a 10 week long vacation now, so feeling much, much better. :-) And maybe its the age ;-) A few years ago, I would have felt like it's the end of the world. Now I feel sad and disappointed, but quickly think of what's next.

@chronicworrier: Ooohh...I'm so glad you signed up. I absolutely love the project, and have been talking about it to all and sundry, in the hope that they will join and make use of it. I can't say enough about its awesomeness. Which course did you sign up for?

@haathi: It was a major disappointment! Been meaning to mail you about it, but have little incentive to mail about my own sob story! But I'm on a two and a half month long vacation across Europe and Asia, and it's all good now. :-) I can see that you're having a fabulous time at the cafe - I keep reading but I use the ipad when traveling, so it's a big pain to comment.
And I WILL move to wordpress, once I'm done with this holiday.

Apoorv Gawde said...

oooh I stopped reading your post right at the reference to the course on History. Sounds so awesome! I am checking it out now!

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