Summing Up 2017

When I migrated in 2004, I suddenly became, from being comparatively well-off in a poor country, poor in a rich country. I did not come with a job in hand, and did not have a technical degree of one kind or another. So, I had to start from scratch: From an warehouse to a front-line sales job and thereon. At this point, I developed a theory of existence: That the world is not going to be perfect, but as long as I have done better in the current year than the previous one, I have done well. 

I ended up violating this golden rule of immigrant existence in 2017. As I end the year, I have gone backwards. Ironically, this is a result of one thing I knew an immigrant can not afford - living in hope - and yet I took the eye off the ball. Got carried away, as one would say, as I loved what I was doing, and let other considerations, rather than the maxims of my own rule, take precedence. So, I am back at ground zero, almost.

When I made a comment about going back in time on Facebook, a young colleague pointed out, rightly, that I could actually never go back. It is indeed true that passing of time, just that very fact, does enrich our lives, as long as we keep our minds open. And, I have tried so, as earnestly as I can. And, yet, this is perhaps about crossing that one-way bridge of being old - or not being young anymore - that makes me regret over-learning, of making predictable mistakes. For that alone, this self-imposed sense of crisis is so important: It makes urgent the need to call a halt to hopes and impose reality. 

So I allowed myself a three months' pause of doing 'projects', work of limited scope, involvement and ambition, while I figure out what I do next. But, as it would be, the habit of living in hope lingered, and I spent some more time chasing a deal which needed compromises from the very start. Again, I allowed my heart to rule and know that these are kinds of mistakes I should be avoiding. And, that - taking greater risks and starting all over again - is what I take to 2018.

I have decided to focus on developing my ideas about 'Enterprise School', the space for work-based learning, and commit my time towards that. My work in the last several months got me into some very significant opportunities of working with employers, an advantage that would be best utilised if I could connect with the project. I have previously frittered some of these away by trying to introduce client organisations which neither had an understanding nor the capacity to build a solution - the consultants' curse - and I have now decided to end such pointless engagements.

I have been lucky in terms of having a few close associates, friends I should call them as our engagement stood the test of time, who have always stepped forward when I hit a low - and they have come forward yet again. And, therefore, this idea of enterprise school is now very much a collective project, and committing myself to such a thing is better for me than wasting my time on doing something that I don't believe in.

At the same time, the other change I wish to make is to take my writing more seriously than I do now. I stopped writing the blog earlier this month because I did not carry on pretending that I have something useful to say when I was not committing the required time and energy behind it. As I resume again, I intend now to bring this blog back to what it was - a diary, a scrapbook of ideas - and not the place to write essays. I am hoping that I can continue to write about ideas and my work, but I would rather write my essays the way it should be written, with an intent to make them withstand scrutiny essential for them to be published.

I look forward to 2018 therefore, with a hope of taking bigger risks, making deeper commitments and doing better. Now that I know the perils of becoming too comfortable, which was indeed my folly in 2017, I wouldn't want to stop and rest anymore. Does this 'hunger' signify that I am not getting old after all? I am not sure: I think it is just experience, knowing what I can not afford - and keep on living as an immigrant.


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