Never too late | The selfish giant

Heard about the male birth control study. They dropped it because of the side-effects. It is a move in the right direction. Hormonal tampering is scary, but it has saved so many people from financial, health, and emotional disasters. And it comes down to personal choice. I think we should invest more to provide more choices, to provide healthier choices. The recent longitudinal study on birth control and its side-effects on women, particularly depression, was alarming.  Technology and science has enabled us so much. We have VR and emoticon displays on laptops. We have self-driving cars and wifi-providing balloons. Birth control seems to be lagging behind. The health industry is complicated. The stakes are high and the lobbying absurd. It is surprising that anything at all progresses through the broken process.


I was chatting with someone about candy and Halloween kids trick or treating. He said he was a selfish giant, happy in his walled garden, with beautiful plants in bloom, and unwilling to share his bounty, allowing no access to others. It made me chuckle and tease him, but later it made me think. I meet so many colleagues who are walled off in that way, expecting to take (knowledge, credit, prime assignments etc) while refusing to give. Collaboration becomes essentially a negotiation process, akin to how the car dealers treat buyers, and it is very difficult to build fruitful partnerships and team-dynamics in that setting. It is fine for a workplace setting, I suppose, but it goes to hell in a hand basket rather fast when it spills over into personal interactions. For better or worse, work brings people closer, and then I have to carefully stay detached all through posturing and dominance games. Trying to separate objective criticism from subjective personal opinions is difficult. Working with highly intelligent colleagues is beautiful and ugly – you learn so much, and you are hurt badly, because these are people who know how to use words and data to their advantage. Internal politics spills over to everything, from lunches to casual good-morning greetings. It is exhausting. Scientists who study primate group behavior would find this interesting. It tires me, though. The difference between vocation and profession is important. The distinction makes it easier to protect the essentials of you from the work itself. When you work with someone for material necessities and gain, it comes with no obligation to be truly yourself, to make yourself vulnerable to the judgement of those whose value in your life isn’t paramount. And when you reach that conclusion, when you practice it, you wind up taking more and more time to slowly converge back to yourself when you leave work and return to what matters.

Had a discussion with a friend, about the difference between vocation and profession. It was interesting and has made me think a great deal about what I want to do next.

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In my continued schemes to improve my life and choices, I have substituted my sriracha hummus of dubious origins for plain organic hummus. I miss my sriracha hummus.

Building anything worthwhile is usually difficult, unless you are blessed with exceptional amounts of luck. I am trying to be pragmatic and careful, aiming for longevity instead of immediate returns, cutting down on the impulsiveness that has been the root of many of my decisions in the past. This has required mental control over comparing my life’s trajectory with that of my peers, resisting familial and societal pressure to conform in certain matters, forcing myself to not react badly and negatively when I see short-term losses, and to be patient. Patience has been difficult. It has been very, very difficult. Exercising patience when the outcomes are certain is easier than exercising it when the outcomes are uncertain.

If it doesn’t work out in the end, I can always be a monk or a philosopher, or perhaps both.  I have the hair for it.


 

Edited to add: Carved a pumpkin with a dear friend. Happy Halloween!