For a rather obvious reason people tend to segment the time into orbital rotations of planet earth. As an earth dweller I too utilize to that convention, maybe a bit too much, but whatever. Following this tradition, I decided to write up few thoughts looking back on 2015. It’s going to be a fairly personal blog entry. My main focus is not going to be on making deductions or inductions on common topics, but I will not refrain entirely from doing so either.
Despite being fairly content at the end of last year, I very impulsively (and with a lot of hesitation at first) moved to NYC from central Illinois (Champaign-Urbana). Initially the move was temporary, and at longest it was going to last for six months. But then I decided I wanted to stay longer, and eventually the move resulted in me getting transferred to Columbia from UIUC for the entire PhD thing.
Changing schools is by itself a big move, but it isn’t something I did not experience before. (I also transferred during undergrad and back in middle school) But this year also came with some other life style changes, that I did not really taste before. I think overall, I increased the bandwidth allocated to external communication a bit, and it resulted in tasting some social reality. I am not saying I was able to make a quantum leap in my social game, but I have been able to take a much more relaxed stance and reduce my overall ‘neediness’ and social desperation.
The relaxation always comes to me with observations (or equivalently experience, for those who are not into machine learning lingo). More I get to collect observations from a certain aspect of life, more my self-esteem in that particular channel is boosted. E.g., I played music with a lot of people this year. I feel much more like conquering territorial beast compared to before in the music space!
Regarding my research life (my job that is) I have decided that I would like to be involved in projects that involve more brains rather than rush. I haven’t been able to live up to my standards in my own research especially in the second half of the year. I will try to mitigate my concerns in this area this year.
But overall, I guess the most interesting transformation is regarding my objective function. Up to this year I have been more or less a selfish and scared person. This year I somehow managed to build an interest for others – the world outside. The thoughts regarding betterment of humanity and human experience began to surround me, to the point where it sometimes clouded my clairvoyance and self determination. This shift is no doubt influenced by the crappy state of today’s world based on I-Me-Mine. This year I began to like the Pope for the first time. I learned that he’s not only an influential leader who preaches against capitalism and warns about the lurking dangers of global warming, but also a rocker! I also stopped eating animals this year, partly motived by environmental concerns and partly thinking for my health!
I have also been able to firmly decide that the lofty peak I am longing to reach, irrespective of whatever it is, should be reached without compromising from myself. Maybe that lofty peak is me/us, and all this is about finding who I am/we are..
Yeah, let me conclude with pictures of the rooms I slept in this year:
My place in Urbana with Jo in picture
The place in East Harlem I initially went:
My later room in NYC this spring
My room this summer
My current hole: