Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Refreshing Surroundings

Refreshing Surroundings

Having completed a major deliverable for one of my projects, I managed to allocate time to sift through some of my old files which have been gathering dust in a corner of my house. Most of the stuff there are more than a decade old. Reading printouts of some of my old e-mails brought back nostalgic memories of those early days of my working life. Sentimental though they were, I chucked most of the files away. Time to give those dead trees a decent burial so that their souls might be able to nourish some fresh trees.

Before I left Jakarta, I also disposed off all my project files. Initially I had wanted to go through them all one by one and save items that might be useful. But after going through one or two of them, I realized that it's too time consuming. I asked the two OBs (office boys) to bring the trolley and cart them all away. It was a great feeling to be free at last from the weight of the past.

Spring-cleaning is a very therapeutic and even necessary exercise. I call it a process of "matter over mind". By removing old and unnecessary things from your surrounding, you make space for new things to enter your life. If you do not know how to free yourself from certain self-defeating thoughts, start by clearing or rearranging the physical things around you first. And that includes people. Your mind will start to think differently.

Which is why I always advise people to travel as a way to rejuvenate themselves. I personally have many opportunities to take up longer term jobs in Malaysia but I simply don't like to be tied down for months and years in one place. I'd rather go for short-term projects across the region because it is easier for me to remain motivated when I'm constantly on the move. My income is a bit more uncertain that way but that's okay. It's more fun meeting new people all the time and getting a chance to take a peek into their worlds.

But Indonesia for some reason is a different story for me: Everytime I go there, I feel like settling down there forever. There's something mysteriously alluring about the place, something which I still cannot explain. A great portion of my blog is an attempt to comprehend all these irrational obsessions of mine.

Looking through my old files, I also understood why certain periods of my life were so difficult to get through. You learn from them and hopefully become wiser by each passing day. Now I know how to detect those signs early and everytime they rear their ugly heads, I consciously initiate a change in my surrounding. And that makes all the difference.

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