Friday, February 08, 2013

Growing (up?)

This one's a bit more personal..

Next week I will start my job. Not another one to be counted to the wide variety of strange and dodgy student jobs I've taken in the past to fill my time and purse (e.g. counting plants in a corn field, tutoring, working Sunday morning shifts in a bakery, tourguide and occasional kitchen slave at an Archaeological park, counting visitors at a museum, translating texts on health promotion and pile driving, actual pile-driving - or rather probing of soils, various waitressing jobs, here and there).

No. None of that. A real job, this time, as my parents see it (and probably most other people too).

Because now I'm (suddenly!) grown up, as a friend informs me.
Because now I've grown out of my "nursery", my shabby "student's life", if you will - as another friend informs me.
Because now serious adult life starts for me - a life filled with responsibility and definitely not as relaxed, careless and fun as my past life has been, as my dad informs me, when I solemnly accept responsibility for my flat and all the bills that need to be paid to keep it.

And all this growing up happened suddenly - with me accepting an offer for a position in the professional field I'm actually trained for (allegedly....).

All this talk about growing up seems to suggests to me that I now have to restrict myself to being serious all the time, a role model whose entire behaviour can be labeled "professional" - on and off the job. "Must-do's" and "must-not-do's" will fill my life from now on. Conventions have to be respected and adhered to. No more of that alternative "I do what I feel like" crap.
All this talk.. it makes me defiant. Also, it made me think.

Yes, I definitely have grown. It mostly happened during the past few years, ever since I left school - during my further education and not because of it.

a) I've learned to be independent, to sort out my everyday life and to organise and fix things when I need to. (Not only in a DIY-way, but in a general sort-out-your-life-kind of way.)
b) I've gotten to know myself and have come to terms with my body and my character - which took quite a while, but I now feel comfortable with who I am. I know who I am (mostly) and can love myself for and in spite of it.
c) I've learned to take responsibility for everything I do. I've learned to also take responsibility for what things I know and don't know and see it as my duty to inform myself on what is going on in the world, because the world doesn't shout it at me. And if it does, it's usually very one-sided.
d) I've learned not to take life as seriously as society want me to see it and not to give much of a damn about what people might think. And to distinguish when I'd better not be too obvious at that. (There's room for improval, of course.)
e) I've learned to not take issues personally, unless they're meant to be. And I've learned to react constructively.
f) I've laid off many of the prejudices I hadn't realised I was having and will strive to continue to do so. I've learned to really love people, because I started being more lenient towards myself.
g) and other things.

So I have definitely grown. Despite doing odd jobs and all. In fact, I owe this more to the people I've met, than to some rigid pattern of education I should have followed.

But now I have a proper job. This, I've been told (indirectly), equals having reached "the goal" (I'd almost typed gaol.). This is the "up" I've supposedly been growing towards and now I need to grow no more. Because there's no time for growing in all this seriousness that now will start to unfold around me. Where could I probably aspire to grow to further? It's a dead end, where I'm stuck until I retire. Fact.

Well, dear people, that's not how I see it. I intend to keep on growing (Not physically - nature forbid!) and I also will put considerable energy into keeping seriousness limited to the situations where it's required. I will keep tailoring my life to my wishes. I will continue to skip rather than walk, when I like to. I will keep singing and whistling randomly. I'll keep occasionally stepping onto a supermarket trolley to roll down an aisle on it. I'll still climb trees every now and again. I will stay childish and will continue to live quite as student-like as I do. I will strive to keep my horizons open (to use a German saying) rather than let my vision be tunneled down to one little speck of light. This is how it is going to be.

And because I came across it today and because it fits - I'll finish this entry with a song by Frank Turner

Friday, February 01, 2013


This is a poem I read and interpreted with my class of 14-year olds in Ladakh. We went through it in so much detail and I re-read it to the blind students often enough to almost come to know it by heart. Like so many things that once observed closely become interesting and important to somebody, it became meaningful to me.
It resurfaced in my mind a few days ago and I felt the wish to share it and conserve it here in case I want to look it up again.

Invictus (W.E. Henley)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.