Some unexpected visitors

Girl drawing image on café window in Leicester.

Productivity |noun| the rate at which goods and services having exchange value are brought forth or produced

I’m baby steps onto this trail, but nonetheless that has proven itself time enough for my first little demon to appear. I’ve decided to call him Zeit.

Can we really be surprised that Zeit has decided to pay me a visit? After all, how can anyone think that after ten years of proselytization to the urgency of answering emails within the hour, checking our Blackberrys first thing in the morning and last thing at night (great if you can check once in the middle of the night as well, should New York or Brazil somehow play into your current deal), keeping radar attention to the flashing red light on this device whenever we choose to audaciously sit down somewhere for lunch, diligently crossing out items on the Sisyphus-like transaction to-do lists that somehow always get longer, never shorter – after years of this sedimentary accumulation of dehumanizing habits, how could we think we would just wake-up one day and break free from our marble prison like some Michelangelo masterpiece jaunting about calm, perfect, unscathed, available to beauty?

Having turned off my Blackberry, Facebook and all other possible distractions, I gave myself over to thought while looking out of the huge industrial window from where I now live. All of a sudden, Geist – the good demon – knocked on the pane and I realized that at that exact moment I was being productive. Although not a word was being set to the page (yet), I was allowing my mind to freely explore, dissect, muse, even if haphazardly and that was actually bringing me to some rather essential conclusions: I have to turn-off and unplug, before I can really tune-in.

But this is a productivity not measured in documents produced and tasks completed as in days of yore, but contents itself with sitting at a window, pen in hand, waiting for Geist to playfully engage with me through the lines I tentatively try to pin down, while Zeit is kept at bay. Michelangelo once said “a beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.” Being productive is hearing and seeing that beautiful thing. It’s tuning-in.

(By the way, Zeit left me a little present. It’s a white Blackberry. I´m sure he thinks the color will deceive me.)


My personal lexicon

Success |noun| the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, the attainment of popularity or profit

John Lennon wrote that life is what happens to you, when you’re busy making other plans. I find myself suddenly wondering if I´d exceedingly regret a tattoo of this particular piece of wisdom.

My plans and those of my husband were rooted in the decade long career we had mutually accumulated in the “sexier side” of the law. All buckled up with various academic and professional titles and multilingually versed in IPOs, CDSs, HY bonds and all other sorts of alphabet soupiness, we all of a sudden found ourselves face to face with a truly intriguing question: so I guess I´m pretty much on track in terms of the world´s definition of success, but what is my definition of success? And would I have it in me to go after it, if this meant unbuckling and walking barefoot on an unfamiliar path to an uncertain destination? Naturally, all sorts of completely logical arguments alluding to the siren´s song ring about, and yet the human heart is discreetly persistent.

This is where being a proud national of a bail-out heavy country comes in handy. The economic crisis which submerges southern Europe at present happened to unwittingly cut-off our brakes and so, for the next 9 months, my husband and I will be rolling around Europe with our dog Botox (who is as naughty as he is wrinkly), each taking the first oddly confident steps on a totally new path.

My husband will be busy on what I´ve christened the FIFA-thon – a prestigious masters program in sports humanities, law and management promoted by FIFA – and that will take us to eclectic Leicester, sophisticated Milan and bucolic Neuchatel with a group of 30 people that come from almost every corner of the world where McDonald´s has a franchise (and some where it doesn´t). (Looks like all those languages will come in handy after all!)

As for me, I´ll be going back to an old neglected passion – the art of words. Absorbing them and being bold enough to try and pin them down to the page myself. I will sit at my desk serving the maddening capriciousness of creativity with all the humility in my being and perhaps something will come of it. Perhaps I will finally engage in a conversation with Pirandello´s six characters, which, I´ve heard, are still looking for an author.

In any case, this year will not be a year of consumer goods, but of experiences big and small. It will be a year of re-definition of certain key words – success, time, rambling, creativity, challenge, giving. Over the next 9 months, these experiences will be set to the page in this blog as a gift of my first written work – my new personal lexicon.

It is a mystery now where we will land at the end of these 9 months. In the meantime, I will be rolling up my sleeves and finally indulging that which has been pulling at them for years despite all my attempts to silence it. It is a daunting task, but perhaps I can take courage from Robert Frost´s words:

I shall be telling this with a sigh / Somewhere ages and ages hence: / Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, / I took the one less traveled by, / And that has made all the difference.

(The Road Not Taken, 1916).

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