Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Next Small Step

Exams done, and one last semester to to before the grand title of 'Master of Science' is conferred upon me, and the inevitable question that has been bouncing around in my head with many strange effects : "What next ?" is decisively answered. As I outlined in a previous post, I have already made up my mind about that : I will do a phd, and increasingly I feel that it will be in Belgium that I will do it. It will be a four year thing, and for the first time really, I'm looking forward to it. But thats not what this post is about. This post is about the next six months - the six months I have to do my thesis and enjoy myself here in Scotland.

Even so, I am plagued by indecision about some of the most important things in my life. When should I go back to India ? Whome should I marry and when ? What am I looking for in life ? To be honest, now that I've given up on pure physics as well as astronomical instrumentation, anything seems okay as long as it provides decent opportunity and a good quality of life. I gave up my dream in 2008 and in 2009 I am beginning to realize that everything else is just that - it's everything else. Phd in photonics is great, I seem to be good at this stuff, and if I play my cards well now and stay awake and perky for four years, I'll probably have something along the lines of what I want to show for it - the beginnings of a hi-tech startup. I'll then move it or a part of it to India or I'll sell it and go home. I want papa to retire early and relax, but I don't see how I can make that happen short of flying home and helping with the business and slowly easing the burden from his shoulders to mine. That is what dutiful sons from business families are expected to do. But I feel I owe it to mummy and papa who educated me and introduced me to books and showed me the world and encouraged me to dream, I owe it to them to make something of my life in these faraway and lonely places where I have been brought by all that is good in me and all that they taught me to be. I know papa agrees and mummy too, even though these days she wants me to come back.

The point is, now - stripped of idealism - apart from the fact that I have done two years of photonics, there is nothing to hold me to the subject - I like it but it is certainly not my passion, - I might as well have done an MBA or something in software or electronics. So, in the medium term my goals have very little to do with the pursuit of knowledge and beauty in academics, and a lot more to do with getting me a interesting and comfortable life. And in the near term - these six months before I graduate - I'm going to concentrate on keeping fit and healthy and happy :) Ive bought Lonely Planet's Walking In Scotland and I mean to work through as many of the relaxed and scenic walks as I can by the end of June and Ill certainly spend the whole of June relaxing and walking in Scotland, and anyone wanting to join is welcome ! I would also like to learn some application development for the iTouch and most of all I want to remain emotionally stable and physically fit.

And the word marriage is beginning to crop up too many times in too many private reveries as well as conversations. That'll have to be kept at bay I think, right now the priorities have to be to handle the immediate technicalities of life well enough to ensure stability and comfort along with leisure and travel. How happy and healthy and interesting my life is depends purely on how well I handle mundane things like thesis work, cooking, cleaning the room and keeping in touch with friends and thus free up time and resources for interesting activities. It's strange that I have to reaffirm these basics of life, but I as well as the one or two friends I have with me here on this exceptionally challenging 2 year roller coaster through western Europe, have had to discover and rediscover ourselves in order to make sense of the myriad possibilities and choices that lie before us. Most of all, we have had to accept our personal weaknesses, the responsibilities we have or will have and the finite nature of lives, our own and those of the people closest to us. This is adulthood. But again I have digressed - the next small step is to manage the little things in life well, have fun, be comfortable and choose an interesting phd topic. And sorry for the slightly solemn post, but I think I have most issues sorted now, and now for the next four or five years things should be calm, stable and lighthearted and interesting :)

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Juhi said...

Deep stuff. But I think the words "settling down" and marriage do begin to crop up as we reach our mid-twenties :)

walking through scotland sounds wonderful doesnt seem to be about to give me the time and opportunity for that, perhaps even until i retire

Random traveler said...

you said it. You said it straight. Keep it.:)

Psmith said...

@Juhi : in that I am lucky..I have been given many months here and there, and I have utilized very few of them well...I intend to use this one !

@ RT : yeah man.....its a rocking and rocky ride this !

Shoesmith said...

the function of intelligence is to enable one to receive postive strokes as continuously and as sustainably as possible.. its both encouraging and mindboggling to hear the thots of someone who's made or making that shift from idealism to this-worldism intelligently, without his intelligence losing its function. i'll bow to that!

Psmith said...

@ Shoesmith : thank you, but its not really as grand or smooth as that :)

Vincent Vanderputten said...

Well, if the transition and changes would be 'smooth', they wouldn't be half as interesting... :)

That said, I'm sure your phrase, "...and now for the next four or five years things should be calm, stable and lighthearted and interesting :)", might not be the way the next four years will be. Mostly the "calm and stable" part can be a quite deceiving view on the future, I'm afraid ;)

Nice to read your blog!

Where does the alias Psmith comes from?

Shoesmith said...

ur welcome psmith! did i forget to put this ;) guy in there?

gday to u!