Okay, so it has been awhile. You are not the only one who has noticed. There has been a gaping hole where at least one, possibly two posts should have been. I hear you. I have been lax. But only on this front, I promise. I have otherwise been entirely over-productive. Wired into the corporate pulse of my current employer like a human pacemaker.
In the past month or so, I have travelled to not one, but three, faraway places: Sydney, Singapore, Shanghai, in consecutive order. For a creature of methodical and well-articulated routine this presents a challenge of a personal nature.
Of course it’s exciting to travel, it’s food for the brain and the soul. It beats sitting at your desk, wondering out the same window, day-in and day-out. And clichéd as it may be to say so; it takes you out of your comfort zone. Sure.
But I have been carefully balancing two distinct sides of my professional life for some time now. So when the seesaw swings downward in such a dramatic fashion, somebody or something clearly has to get off. The electric fence around my creative time was disconnected, as my raison d’être swung entirely in favour of ‘working for the man’.
Since the beginning of the year, I have been waking up a half hour earlier. Each day, before breakfast, before showering, before another thought can even enter my mind, I sit at my desk with the first streams of morning light and allow whatever is on my mind to spill out onto the hungry pages. Thoughts in freefall, notebook after notebook filled with superfluous, semi-conscious mind matter.
About a week before I left for Sydney, this seemingly well-formed habit began to erode. My mind worked overtime on the details of the trip, the requirements for when I was away and when I got back. I did not take a dedicated notebook with me. I did not take my dedication with me. I just took my mission...and my baggage.
Overseas, I assessed venues and nurtured relationships to bear future fruit. I felt like an enormous crane had lifted me by the scruff of my neck and put me down into Bob Dylan's Complete Unknown. It took me days to converge, to be one and the same again. Like Shanghai itself, where Western consumerism has crashed down around the old town to create a space that is more confused than Confucius, I was two completely separate people; one lost and one searching.
Only this weekend, do I feel whole and home.
It is clear that my flexibility is not made from rubber. More stretch is required before all of the elements that make up my life can co-exist and flow like the Huangpu River.
I have come to realise that true grit is not necessarily an immovable object applied with ultimate force. Real determination might actually involve less indomitable spirit and more quiet acceptance.