Changes – Part II (where I finally made things happen)

Edit: You should read Part I of this post first [in case you haven’t already.]

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So, once I told everyone that things would change by March, I went into full stress mode. Now that I’d told actual people about this I had to actually make something happen or accept that I’m a piece of shit and forever be The Girl Who Couldn’t. So I started to think of what I’d like to do with most of my time for the rest of my life. I spoke to people doing different things in different fields – psychologists and writers, other kinds of designers. I even tried to network. Ugh. And I slowly started to realize that I don’t want to do any one thing forever.

Here’s the problem, Zonk: I don’t have a calling. I never did. I’m interested in a lot of things and I care a lot about doing every one of them and that’s a sticky situation. If I got myself another design job (I figured I do want to stick with design afterall), I’d still not find the time to do justice to anything else. My problem was not the job itself, but the fact that it sucked up all my time and energy and left nothing over for anything else. I considered going freelance, so I’d have more time to myself, but I’ve done freelance before and it turned me into a crazy person. I’m older now, and wiser, but still. Freelance is not for me, at least not yet.

And so I figured I’d try to go part time. I spoke to Kunal, who has aced the art of bending time to suit his own needs:  he’s a copy writer and entrepreneur and piano student rolled into one. I spoke to more people and got some offers and felt relieved because it was not yet March but things were happening and this was at least possible. But I also really did not want to leave. And so I spoke to the people at the office again and asked if they’d want me to come in 3 days a week instead of 5 and, because the Universe was being so magnanimous already, they said okay.

I was supposed to be working three days a week, this month onward. But stuff happened and I postponed it by a month. The month is halfway through now. In May I’ll start with my three day arrangement: Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are for learning to record, making music, painting, blogging, making t-shirt designs, random projects once in a while if they feel worth it, and so on.

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I read this post recently and realized that I am an Impostinator. While I’ve been busy and working hard all these years, I’ve just been procrastinating on doing the things that are truly important. Because I’m fucking chicken. It takes balls to admit you care about something and work hard at it and put it out there. It takes balls to try to change things when they aren’t exactly broken. It’s easy to drift around in a haze of discontent, or to tell myself that I’d do this if only I had the time.

But what if I could have more time? What if these excuses exist only because I do nothing to get rid of them? One size does not fit all, and I’ve known for a while now that I don’t want a standard career progression. I don’t want to be Creative Director of anything. I don’t want to have a team of people under me and tell them what to do. I’d suck at that. I just want to do my work. And I want my work to tell a truer story of who I really am. I am no one thing. I am a little bit of many things and that’s alright. I am a designer. But I’m also a blogger and a songwriter and a painter and none of this needs to amount to anything. But it does need to exist. I do need to have something to show for all the things I care to do, and if time is what it takes, then well. I should be a whole lot happier now.

And that is how this ends. Or begins. Who knows how these things go. Hopefully, I’ll have more to report in a few months’ time. Thank you for listening, Zonk. You’re awesome. We should meet and drink someday, and I will listen too.

Love always,
K.

Changes – Part I (Where I got sick of the story line)

Dear Zonk,

I’ve been making vague posts about Changes for a while now, and I think the time has come to tell you everything. It’s kind of a long story, but you’ve trudged through so many of those here by now that I think you’ll maybe stick around for this one too. Because, you see, this is a big deal for me.

So, here goes.

I’ve never made any real decisions in life. I’ve just sort of drifted into this point in time and space by accident.
I spent most of my teens believing I’d grow up and be some sort of writer. And then one day I happened to paint a pair of shoes. My friend Frank liked those shoes, and he happened to make me a Facebook page and people happened to place orders. So I painted more shoes. And then, when I got sick of the smell of canvas and rubber, I started painting other things. The whole painting thing took on a life of its own and it took me to some really random places. Which I liked, mind you. I didn’t know I could paint till I was 20, and I didn’t know just how much I’d come to love it until much later, when I started painting small canvases. It never made me much money, of course, and I knew that at some point I’d have to get a real job doing real things.

At which point, C suggested I learn Photoshop. He pointed out that if I can do art I can probably do design and I thought – wow, this is so much cooler than MS Paint. So he taught me some basic Photoshop, and I learned more and started doing some freelance design work and then that took on a life of its own. I got a shit agency job that set my career back by thousands, hated it, stuck it out and quit it 6 months later to join Webly. That was almost three years ago, and Webly’s been on a roller coaster ride of its own since then. And I rode along and evolved in a very peculiar and unplanned direction: from Graphic Design to Web Design to eCommerce to UI/UX.

If you’d met me three years ago, you’d never have predicted I’d specialize in UI/UX Design someday. I wouldn’t have predicted I’d specialize in UI/UX design someday. Or that I’d actually be good at it. But I did, and I am, and honestly, I enjoy it.

Only I’m not a UI Designer at heart. At least, I’m not only a UI Designer. Or even a designer at all. And I’ve been unhappy for a while now because at some point, I turned 25. And when you’re a quarter of a century old you begin to feel less invincible. Things begin to feel more transient and you realize that time and youth are running out and if you don’t like where you’re heading you need to start rerouting now. Old age will happen to you someday. And then, when you’re 40, and you look back at things and ask what you’ve done with Life and all the lemons it threw at you…well. I don’t want to say that I took those lemons and built some good UI.

Don’t get me wrong. UI Design is great. It’s challenging and fun and it takes time to get good at it. But you see, Zonk, I used to do a lot of things. I used to paint and make music and blog like a maniac. (A cookie to you if you get the reference.) I still do all of those things, but only barely. I last painted in October. I have only 2 posts on Bleak Person Chronicles. I’ve been playing more music lately but these spikes happen in fits and bursts and I’ve found that I can’t sustain it.

And so, I panicked. And I told myself that by December, I will Make Some Changes and then proceeded to do absolutely nothing. And then December rolled around and I panicked again and told myself that by March, I will Make Some Changes. And to make sure I did that, I let the people at work know that Changes were on the charts and I’d be doing something differently by the time March ended and I might even leave. Nobody knew what the fuck to make of that, of course, because I really didn’t have a clear idea of anything to begin with. I only had a whole lot of discontent and a sense of tragic waste and a vague need to do something about it.

And now, because this post is getting way too long, I’ll break it off here and go into the actual changing bit in part II.

Dear Zonk,

Change happens at alarming rates these days. It makes me nervous. Because, you know, I am a dinosaur. A dinosaur with a death wish. The one that stood still and cursed the Universe while meteors fell around him.

But things seem to be working out anyway. And I really did plan to explain more today but I’m lazy today and distracted. So I’ll be back tomorrow.

So, I’m off now. Do check the random advice today. It’ll be up in 5.

Love always,
K.

Changes.

Dear Zonk,

Some time ago I told you I had big things to tell you that I couldn’t say anything about yet.
Bigger things happened today that may or may not have jeopardized that first thing.

And I still can’t tell you anything at all.

I’m a little bit confused. I think I’ll try to sleep it off.

Keep your fingers crossed, Zonk, and hope that things work out.

Love always,
K.

Luminous (WIP)

Edited to add: Use headphones if you can.

A long time ago, I told you that I almost finished recording one complete song and that I’m thinking of maybe sharing the WIP version with you.

So, here you go.

Things you should know: This song is called Luminous. I’ve been sitting on it for over a year now. It was almost fully composed ages ago but it didn’t really come together till C collaborated on it. So far, only the two of us have worked on this track. I’ve composed the song (guitar and words), and I’m singing and playing it. C’s done the sound: i.e. the recording, production and putting-together-ing of the song. I’m going to figure out a better way to explain this later tonight.

Things you don’t really need to know but there’s no one here to stop me from going on: There’s a book by Nick Cave called the Death Of Bunny Munro. At some point in it, Bunny Jr., an anxious, earnest, too-old-for-his-age little boy is sitting alone in his dad’s car while his dad is busy getting it on with some woman or the other under the pretext of being a cosmetic salesman just days after his wife’s suicide. Bunny Jr. dozes off while reading  about Quasars. A quasar, according to his book, is the most luminous object in the universe. In Bunny’s dream, his mother puts a finger on his forehead and tells him – You are the most luminous object in the Universe.

The Most Luminous Object In The Universe.

The concept really stuck with me. And the word. And, therefore, this song.

I hope you like it, Zonk. And that we really finish it next week.

Luminous.

You’re careless and weird
You’re still finding your feet
It’s hard to be sure of how
And the road that you’re on
Is likely as wrong as
Right
And regretfully

You’re too old to be young
And too young to be real
You might well disappear.

But when you turn out the light
And just let it all slide
I’m here to be yours
And you
Are luminous.

And older you’ll grow
Still aching to know if
Time will reveal a Plan
With cause and effect and
Maps that make sense and
Stars that will all align

Too late to begin
All over again
You might well disappear

But when you turn out the light and
Let it all slide
I’m here to be yours
And you
Are luminous.

Vacation, flu and a bunch of other things

In the last one week, I’ve been to Bangalore for a gig, lived with both my nephews 24×7 for 7 days in a row, been to hospital to visit C who caught the Swine Flu, and therefore had several cups of hot green tea, washed my hands a million times and gargled at least thrice to ensure that I don’t catch it too.

I did not catch it. I am somewhat proud of my immune system for having fought it off. And also somewhat worried about developing a Lady Macbeth type OCD. Meanwhile, C has moved out of hospital and is almost safe to be around again. Almost.

In other news, things are beginning to look up around here. My sofa sort of broke recently and that means I cannot put off the next phase of the House Makeover Project much longer. Which in turn means that I get to spend a lot of time on Apartment Therapy while simultaneously feeling purposeful and productive. I’ve started to get carpenter quotes et cetera again. And I’m really wishing I felt rich enough to just go for it right away. But I don’t. Fucking carpentry. It’s ridiculous how expensive these things are.

And because I’ve neglected this place for so long (honestly, who let’s a sidebar fall off a blog and do nothing about it?), and because I did not come back yesterday for my second post like I promised, I will be coming back with another today.

In 5.

That’s all, Zonk.

See you in 5!