Holidays as focal points

I don’t like Christmas holidays. I mean I have nothing against Christmas and New Year – they are wonderful festivals. I don’t like Christmas holidays because it’s one week in the year when pretty much the entire world has holidays.

And this makes it difficult to plan a holiday. Unless you’ve planned British-style and booked your hotel three months in advance, it is not easy to get room in quality hotels anywhere at this time of the year.

It is similar with the holidays around Dasara in October. It may not be a worldwide phenomenon like Christmas is, but it is a phenomenon that affects a large portion of India. And that makes it hard, once again, to plan holidays and go to places that are not going to be inundated with tourists.

In contrast, I love summer holidays because they are so long (between two and three months depending upon your school) that not everyone goes for vacation at the same time. Consequently, unless you go around long weekends (such as Easter or May Day), places are easier to get and not as crowded as well.

Until we had a kid, we tried as much as possible in being contrarian with our holidays – go when nobody else is going. Now that we have a kid (though not too big, but she goes to school), we tend to look at the school holidays as anchors as to when to go for a vacation. The last two holidays (the Dasara holidays in October and the Christmas holidays starting later today) have been a bit of a washout on that count because on both counts we didn’t plan early enough (and even if we did, we can expect pretty much every place to be choc-a-bloc with tourists in these times).

On the other hand, in August, the daughter’s school gave a week off at a time when pretty much no other school in the country had given vacations. That was brilliant, and we did a beautiful holiday then, booking less than a month in advance but getting a great but non-crowded place. Then again, I guess my daughter’s classmates who have siblings in other schools would have faced problems at that point in time.

In any case, going forward, we’ve decided to do what parents of other young children tend to do – not bother about child’s classes or “attendance” and go for holidays whenever.

We should simply stop planning holidays when everyone else is planning holidays!

Thirty to twenty nine

I turned twenty nine today. Yesterday to be precise; I see the clock has just ticked past midnight. And I’m sensing that my “project thirty”, where I had decided to not take up a full time job until I turn thirty and do “all the things I ever wanted to do”, is already in trouble.

Sensing that over the last two months of joblessness I hadn’t been spending my time usefully (Parkinson’s law and all that), I decided to sit down today and make a list of all those things that I’ve ever wanted to do and haven’t been able to, which I want to do before I’m thirty. It took me a couple of hours maybe, maybe a little less than that. At the end of it, I had a grand two page bullet-pointed word document to show for my efforts. To be honest, it looked rather skinny.

I started a (time) budgeting and planning exercise, and figured out how much time I would need to do all that. Apart from a few big holidays I’ve planned, I realized that the rest of the activities can actually be worked around a “normal” work schedule, as long as I don’t take up a job that will eat away all my time. Yes, the list of “things I always wanted to do” include entrepreneurship and freelancing, but again, bereft of concrete ideas I’ve started getting doubts if this is the right time to do that. Things are quite unclear right now.

I’m more open to taking up a full time job now than I was a week or so back. I need to not make the mistake again of taking up something that I’m not suited for, or something that won’t inspire me, or something that wouldn’t allow me to do the other things that I’ve wanted to do. Again, I personally don’t mind a “portfolio life” also, where I have a couple of part time gigs rather than a full time job. Ideally, something that would allow me the time and mind space to do my side projects on the side, while also generating some revenue.

I know I want to live in Bangalore. I know that I don’t want to take up an offshored job again (a mistake I’ve done twice in the past; not something I would want to repeat, ever). I have a reasonable idea about the kind of work I want to do, though I’m quite flexible about it. I want to do something that I feel for and be proud of doing – something more than just a “CMP”. And again, something that gives me the time and space to do my own things also. And yes, I know it’s going to be hard to find something to fit these constraints (Bangalore and non-offshored reduces the sample space quite a bit, I know). And I’ll continue my Project Thirty while I seek to find something on these lines, I guess.

Or maybe I’m giving up too early. Or maybe not, that I’m just being pragmatic. Maybe I’m bowing to pressures, both internal and external. Maybe I’m just taking a rational decision. Nevertheless,

I shall not take up a job that I won’t be proud doing.

I shall not take up an offshored job.

I shall not give up on the agenda of project thirty, which is quite exhaustive. It remains a priority.

I want to have a fulfilling life, and not feel like I’m wasting time.

I’m going to keep my mind sane, and try not to succumb to pressures.