I feel the blog drying up. I try to write something, but nothing turns up. Those birding write ups, those trip diaries, and those occasional book reviews have been the red herrings, that the real blog that I used to maintain, to pen what I thought and experienced is dying.
I wonder why that is so? Is it that what I feel has been wrung dry here so many times, that I don’t feel the need to write anything about myself anymore? Or is it that I’ve passed the stage where I was questioning myself, my choices, my fate, and have finally accepted what is as what it is? If that is so, is this a burning away of whatever was raging inside me, trying to get me somewhere? Or is it a sign that I am there and there’s no further need to seek?
I don’t know. Maybe there’s a flow chart for it? Am I at peace? If yes, all good. If not, what can I do to be at peace? Do that. Get back to the first question. Problem solved? If only.
I still feel the void that was there a long time back, I feel that every day at work, sitting in front of the screen, and not having much work to do. Maybe that is the curse I’ve carried all my career, of not having much to do. It’s a surprise it has carried me this far, but it’s also that you learn along the way how to make a career out of doing nothing. As I explained to my manager, most career movements, like promotions and hikes, depend on luck. You could go a whole year not doing anything, and then a couple of weeks before the big review, a major customer issue lands on your plate. Your manager is busy with other personal issues, you main guy in the US is dealing with his own personal issues, all eyes are on you. You manage fine, even suddenly landing a presentation to big shots because your manager overslept his post-dinner nap of “20 minutes only”. You get your “visibility” and you are set. On the contrary, you could spend 9 months executing from scratch a big project, only to have your 9 months end 6 months before the main review. Which doesn’t leave you anywhere. A bit like having an attack happen just before your elections, eh?
But I digress. Or maybe not. The whole point of everything is, maybe, luck. You coast 30 years of your life. Land a job at the highest-paying company to visit your college during a recession year, travel abroad to the point that 10 years since your graduation, you realise you haven’t spent more than a year or two continuously in your city, and even laugh, not even in the same continent. You rack up the air miles, counting the number of flights you take, some for vacation, some for work. You cannot be flying higher. And then, suddenly things change. That sudden hesitation in your parent’s voice. That sudden health crises, which slowly consumes you. That hesitation in your life, maybe another year. And before you know it, you are here, writing a blog, about to enter the last of your 30s, a big chunk of your life already behind you.
Where does that leave you? Cynical? Even bitter? Or with (a misplaced) optimism? “I’m going to live my life from now on.” A long time back I wanted to live my life. Many years on, I now realise that you only live your life, you never live others’. Yes, we could think of it as battles that we fight in different forms.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
When the Mirage 2000 that they were operating developed issues shortly on take-off from HAL the pilots were faced with a choice, and they decided to turn the aircraft around and lost crucial moments to save themselves. The choice to turn the machine around likely saved a lot of lives of unsuspecting residents. I remember reading this thoughtful piece on it.
It was a decision made out of priorities. It only takes a microsecond to take a decision, but the priorities themselves take time to build. Over years, perhaps. It is true that anyone who enlists in the Armed Forces is taught and trained to think about the greater good, and it is possible that it is people who already believe that way are the ones who enlist. But how do we inculcate in ourselves these priorities? Or any priority for that matter?
Yes, there are many things that you wish had not happened on your watch. But as it happens, that is never your choosing. Yes, there will be relief at the end of your watch, but until then, you just have to choose what to do, and how best to respond. What we are and what we become is what we choose to do when things happen on our watch. And everything you do, every choice you make, doesn’t stand by itself, but is a result of making similar choices earlier.
Which could be true, we are programmed to respond in certain ways because we have always done that earlier, and it comes naturally. But, what made you make a choice the first time? Was that also chance? Or is that something ingrained in us? Good person genes vs bad person genes? What makes you a Frodo vs a Bilbo or even a Smeagol, given the same ring? Even easier, what makes a person respond to a road accident the way he/she does, by either driving away, gawking, or being the person who takes over and helps?
How much of what I am is my choice vs what I was programmed to be? Does the answer even matter, though?
P.S: Twitter account deactivated for the weekend, although I suspect I might stay away longer. 😉