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The woods are lovely, dark and deep

But I have promises to keep                                                                         

And miles to go before I sleep

And miles to go before I sleep – Robert Frost

So, I left at my little conversations with the travel agents. Week 2 was a lot of that. Thinking of travelling is easy, actually making it happen is not. It’s been more than 6 days of browsing hotels and places, endless emails and phone calls, and all I have confirmed so far is the Kashmir Trip. Well, kudos to that.

Reflecting on my first two weeks away from work, I do feel lot more relaxed and organized. I haven’t really started missing work yet, and I hope that continues for the next few months while I work on some other things. I was able to draft a plan for my next 2 quarters in the last few days when I wasn’t writing. While I would have loved to (and tried) to figure out all 4 quarters, the fog isn’t really clearing. So, I let it be, for now.

The way I would like to define it, excluding my first month, which I am mostly spending on rejuvenating, taking care of pending To-Dos from previous weeks and some planning, the first quarter of my sabbatical will be spent on some personal satisfaction activities. This includes travel with parents, reading a lot of books, checking off some items from the list like travel alone and some self discovery actions like finding out about PETA etc. The second quarter will be used to prove the assumptions.

You must be wondering, what does that sound like. So, the reason to leave my day job was to find meaning in my work. This relates to doing something that involves the less fortunate kids and old people, being a part of PETA and in general finding a kind of work that does more than increasing someone’s stock value. I do not know if this feeling is just out of some influence from the books I read or if it is real. So, in the second quarter, I plan to work at some of these places on a trial basis, may be volunteer and see how I do. No idea what and where yet. But it should be clear in the next month or two. Second quarter doesn’t start till august, so I have some time.

I don’t know what my trail will look like at the end of quarter two. I might say, well, I like doing this and I think I’m gonna stick with it. OR, I might say, this isn’t for me, back to the corporate world. Either way, while it may be too early to say, third quarter might be spent in enhancing talent and developing hobbies. I never had time for that. All these years, I either have been studying or working. With all that, there is no real focus on developing any kind of hobbies. Imagine how boring I will be when I am 50. When I wouldn’t be a software person anymore. Its like what do you do when you’re not working. At this time, with all our busy lives and more than better health, we don’t need to think about our idle times. There IS no idle time. But I am sure that time will come fast when we wont have all this. And we will still need to stay entertained. In those times, only your creative talents can keep you busy and happy. Lets say, I want to dedicate one of the quarters of my sabbatical to my retirement days. I might paint, photograph, ice skate (it sounds way better to break my hips now than at 50), play piano, sing, sketch, or make better friends ;).

Anyways, that was a sneak peek into my planning, and what I have been upto. I would love to type a bullet list of all the things I will be doing in the first quarter, coz I pretty much have it ready. But that will take the fun out of writing this blog after that. So, I’ll keep the list with me, and write about it when I check it off. For now, buying that DSLR is the first on the list. And did I mention, someone was having real fun coming up with those funky feature names so taking picture sounds like an art. And we blame Shakespere for being complex in his writing. ISO, EFX, AFS, IS, VR, CMOS, SIGMA, VARI-Angle, blah blah – Hello, I could use a professor here, or a workshop on how to buy the right DSLR, or a book – “Buying a DSLR for Dummies”.

On the other side, when I went to sea world last week, I realized how sad I felt everytime I was in the audience for a live animal presentation show. Even the zoo. It has always bothered me and I never truly enjoy those places. So, me being in this zone of self discovery, was able to hear this more clearer this time. And I vowed to not attend any such shows, or go to such places that involve a live animal being caged and made to do things so a bunch of clowns can clap to it. Because when we go to these places, we encourage them to keep running by paying for it. Just because we are strong and have better tools, does not mean we become insensitive to the life around us. I mean, there is no way a shark can be happy doing this –

OR THIS –

Think about it, every species on this earth is a creation of God, with a purpose. And they were each placed accordingly to serve that purpose. If the purpose of a shark was to entertain people, it would not have been placed in the deep oceans where humans couldnt not even reach without a significant technological advancement. Let them live for how they are meant to live. You need entertainment, go sit in front of the idiot box which is your own creation with your own type of clowns to make you laugh.

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