Search This Blog

Jun 3, 2010

Winding down

Winding things down is a whole new experience; it definitely puts things into a different perspective.
For example, I have abandoned pursuing any new major projects – on improving operations, or creating new programs, etc. It is somewhat liberating and only now I realize how much time change takes, as opposed to playing defense and just maintaining things. And of course, this is Summer, so the defense play is reduced, too. My time goes into writing down policies, proposals, memos, etc.  Those are meant to document what we have been doing. As always, I can see what we can improve, but then I realize someone else has to do it now. Or, it is more likely, the next person may have a different set of priorities. As one of my colleagues commented, “The new person will change everything again.” I thought there was a hint of irony in his voice, and started to worry – are the changes I proposed and made were all for the good, or some were just for the sake of change? One hopes it is the former, but hmm, maybe other people think differently? I could not find any single change I thought was unnecessary (although there is definitely a short but painful list of failed projects). But how can I be certain?  
I also discarded a lot of paper documents and books. The documents are destroyed because we either have electronic copies, or they are very unlikely to be used by anyone. With books, it is a different story. Somehow, at this point of my life, I lost the reverential attitude towards books. I used to treasure them all, just because they were books. But now, I look at a book, and ask myself – am I going to ever re-read it? And if the answer is no, it goes to the recycling bin. It is amazing how many bad, uninteresting books one can accumulate. I am irritated by ugly, uninspiring, or just outdated books. Not sure why, perhaps it is because in the middle age, one can see the end of one’s life, and is more realistic about what one can and cannot do. The illusions about finding a bunch of time and re-reading some dusty books are all gone. Vicky found my trips to the recycling bin depressing, and asked me to do it after hours or on weekends. But I must say, throwing things away does feel liberating. Here is where Svetlana and I are different. For an artist, an object may have a lot of potential – as a material for a future project, or just an object with a great shape or color or texture – it can inspire and be drawn. So, I don’t get to throw a lot of stuff at home. But it is my belief that purging one’s possessions is a good thing; it clears our minds, drawers, and hard drives. 

No comments:

Post a Comment