Tuesday, August 11, 2009
By The Numbers
I think I have accomplished a soft landing here in my present location. All the past years’ preparations have paid off. Many things still too do and one cannot slack off because it can all come tumbling down. But I am still in ‘fighting’ mode, still borrowing too much books, audio CDs, DVDs or magazines. During the last week I borrowed about 10 DVDs and I need to watch them within 2 weeks if I will follow the return date. I just finished CDs 16 to 26 of Doris Kearns ‘Team of Rivals’ and I will borrow the previous 1-15 CDs. I still feel that I have a lot of catching up to do before I feel confident of myself. I guess I can slow down now that I will have too many things to do. I like working here because the emphasis is on the application of knowledge instead of the gathering of knowledge.
I guess I like the stimulation or reading all these new things. I especially like the magazine WIRED and the last edition was about knowing yourself by the numbers. Its premise is that the past way to know ‘thyself’ following the Greek idea is by writing, or by words. Now technology has reached such heights that one can know more about oneself by getting statistics, for example, height, weight, BMI, blood pressure and so on. So it’s a good concept and especially for someone who is interested in his health or has health problem; learning about oneself thru many means like statistics is a good method. But one should be more practical and learn how one can apply this knowledge of oneself. For instance, exercise more or follow a strict diet.
Last Friday, we had a review of the software that is planned to be installed soon. After the presentation, some ideas were shared and it seemed that I was the only one who wanted to go forward. Is it my ‘reckless’ attitude? Or is it my experience and confidence in deploying software? Or is it because other team members are cautious? Or perhaps they know more about the way things work here so that is why they are cautious? Hence, after the meeting, I started to think if I needed to slow down and follow the local lead. But I also thought that I have a right to speak up and say my piece as well. That is the magic of this place the sense of equality as personified with the recent presidential election.
This magically freedom, if I am to believe all these books I am reading, was a result of the work of Abraham Lincoln. His humanity strove to abolish slavery but also to prove a concept that all men are free. From this starting premise, from a citizenry of free people comes a government for the people, by the people. It’s a liberating idea and one that can be lost sight off in its subtlety. Applying to my case, perhaps I don’t need to strive at the level that I have been striving for in the past. I have attained that goal coming here. Now that I have bought a home and with my kids preparing for college, my goals should now move higher. Is that the freedom that I have finally understood from my own personal situation? The freedom to say that I have succeeded in this first step and now to go for step two?
Going forward to my 5th decade, I guess I really owe it to myself. In fact, there is really no more time left perhaps to procrastinate. The training, lessons and experience that I have accumulated is enough to stabilize me. Perhaps I cans till do the things that I do for the past 2 years like toastmasters or journalizing but now at a different prism of thought or perspective. I guess it is all in the mindset and all these new experiences in the past 4 months is enough for me to get my bearings. When I have said that I made it, I think I have achieved a ‘soft’ landing as some economist would say. Some sort of transition has been achieved but more challenges lie ahead as my kids start going to college. Looking at the numbers or events, for example:
* new driver’s license (still to come wife + 2 kids)
* Social Security number (still to come for 2 kids)
* new house
* new car
* kids ready for college
* kids studying driving
* kids joining the health club
* application for new visa
* family joined local library
* family travel to nearby cities or places
These accomplishments show that the transition is proceeding as planned. A lot of things will still happen that will deepen the experience but touchdown has been achieved. So the next challenge is how to rise to the next level after these initial targets have been reached. For myself, I should watch my expenses more, start working on my book or another job, make friends and learn new skills. I may need to buy a bigger house when my kids finish college and perhaps a 2nd hand car if my kids will continue their college degree and start working. Moving forward would mean losing my normal sense of shyness and move with more confidence and less self-doubt.