Friday, January 14, 2011

Happy New Year!

A somewhat belated Happy New Year to all of my readers! (At least it is still January!)

My last posting was about my research plan to write at least 200 words a day. Unfortunately, I was not able to keep that up through the fall, not so much because I was too busy, but because I floundered a bit in finding a good schedule of times each day to work on my writing. Then my schedule sort of settled, but time for writing remained unresolved. Can I learn from that experience and do better this coming semester? We shall see!

Three additional factors inhibited my efforts last semester: (1) I had more students than usual (larger classes); (2) I had someone working on a translation project for me, and so every time I did have time for research, I found myself proofreading versions of the translation, and (3) my music schedule unexpectedly became very busy.

What makes me more optimistic about the spring is that: (1) I'll have smaller classes again.

And (2): the good news about the translation project is that it's pretty much finished now, and so I've been working this January break on following up on the research I intended to do with this document now translated. I'm hoping that the enthusiasm and momentum I have generated will carry me through to a productive writing schedule through the upcoming spring semester.

Regarding (3), I do have performances again in the spring, but I think not as many. I really love music and am glad that I have had so many opportunities to perform again. Just when I was starting to worry that maybe it is taking too much time, I came across this interesting article noting that a large percentage of "geniuses" have serious artistic hobbies.

What is encouraging about that article is its suggestion that having a serious hobby can be good for your main work, because making connections across different areas of interest enhances creativity. I already realized that having two main strong interests makes me happy and makes my life feel better balanced. But the thought that the two strong interests might be mutually benefiting each other removes all lingering traces of guilt about how much time I do put in to my music.

Yet, if I face the full complexity of my life honestly, is it really just two main interests? That is, is it:
  1. My intellectual work
  2. My music
Or, is it:
  1. Philosophy
  2. Peace Studies
  3. Music
Or:
  1. Writing
  2. Teaching
  3. Administration
  4. Music
Or even:
  1. Writing philosophy
  2. Teaching philosophy
  3. Writing peace studies
  4. Teaching peace studies
  5. Administration of peace studies program
  6. Music
The last one expresses best why I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the complexity of my life.

Right now, in January, my life feels ideal, because it is simplified to:
  1. Writing (philosophy)
  2. Music
This, for me, is the perfect life.

What is your perfect life?

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