NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
I can't believe I haven't blogged in here for almost two months! Luckily blogging is not something of a short temperament for me, but rather something to take a break from-voluntarily or involuntarily.
I was caught up with so much work for the most part of November. Me and the other folks in the lab prepared for a conference organized by the Centre of High Performance Computing. The conference took place in Century City (yes, I can't deny that I expected more of a wine estate, Kruger or Sun City as the venue, but "what are you gonna do!").
Anyways, for three entire weeks, 90% of what I did was to try to prepare the perfect poster that summarized my work up to that point. We had four meetings that took hours each, went through each one of the posters one by one, suggested modifications for each other and so on. Only for the posters to be put up at the very last day of the conference while we were upstairs attending a workshop, so it didn't really matter if anybody had a slightest moment of glance at them.
BUUUT, on the positive side, I had access to amazing free food. I met a Turkish professor from Rhodes University and she had the loveliest and the most humble personality. I got to talk individually to people in the lab that I previously didn't get a chance to talk to, or lets face it, simply avoided. The conference did help me realize what I did not want to do in the future: anything related to complex CPU- GPU stuff, bytes, zeros, ones, machine learning, AI etc. These were the concepts that would intrigue me when incorporated into a sci-fi thriller, but they just sound like a bunch of gibberish in real life.
One week after the conference, I had the most amazing road trip of my life in a very long time. I realized how long I was trapped in my small bubble when I visited the most rural and untouched parts of the West Coast. I saw the vast dry savannah, towns so small that they only consisted of 5-6 streets, rooibos fields, rock formations that resembled the Antelope Canyon in the US, cave paintings so well-preserved and delicately drawn I couldn't believe they were thousands of years old. I tasted the wine with the highest quality/price ratio and ate the most freshly-caught of the seafood. I was greeted by so many friendly people that I regained faith in humanity. Most importantly; I got to spend time in the nature and only with the nature. Sometimes I closed my eyes and tried to distinguish between different insect and bird sounds to find out how many I was hearing and it was the most therapeutic moment of my life. Nature brought the worst of me sometimes when I faced my anxieties, but also taught me the ways of coping. I didn't feel the need to check my phone, e-mails, Whatsapp groups that I wasn't even sure why I was a part of. And I realized, how much I missed travelling and writing.
In the meantime, I kept writing blog articles for other websites, which helped me make significant pocket-money. I also continued the dance classes and helped the instructors with the management of social media in exchange for free entry to the classes for a while.
I read books, one of them was written by the critically acclaimed Turkish author Elif Shafak: Forty Rules of Love. I want to write a seperate post about it.
2018 wasn't a good year in general, but it was necessary. Most of the year was spent worrying. Will I be able to finish my masters, will I be able to write my thesis, how will I pay next month's rent, how will I decide what to do after I get my degree, how will I afford this and that, what will people think about me when this and that, and it goes on.
Beyond all the worrying, it was a year of constant questioning, self-observation and pursuit. What do I want? Have I found an answer? I think I have (not the same as "yes, I have").
One thing I know; I feel like sometimes I compromise too much of my mental well-being for the approval of others I deem important, but I forget to ask myself "how does this make me feel?". There is a thin line between being competitive and being self-destructive, and I think I sometimes slip into the dark side of the line.
This year, I complained too much about the negative sides of my current life (you wouldn't know because I generally write about the positive stuff). This year, I want to concentrate more on the positive and change the negatives whenever possible. It takes practice. Why does every beneficial and healthy habit require practice!
I definitely have to travel more! I will do whatever it takes. I want to become more professional and accomplished at blogging, maybe even monetize it ( but I need to have my own website for that).
I want to take active roles in projects, see people, meet new cultures and listen to them. I want to do something that I can incorporate my chemical engineering knowledge into, without having to sit in front of a computer for countless hours, trying to study a theory to its core. It hasn't really been my thing.
I want to practice meditation and mindfullness for sure. Even thinking about these 10 day silent retreat programs in Worcester.
All these years, I have always been very critical about New Years Resolutions. It was just another way people created false expectations and promises that they couldn't execute. So, I didn't want to be one of those people who felt disappointed and dissatisfied with themselves at the end of the year. Then I realized, I jumped to this conclusion without actually trying it out. So, this post marks my first ever-written new years resolution.
Hoping to meet fellow travellers and bloggers one way or another in the new year.