I've wanted to write something about my personal life for some time now. Something along the lines of what I've been up to, how I'm feeling about university and my final year of studies coming up; you know, the usual blog kind of stuff.
But I find it extremely difficult even to begin since there's so much on my mind, and all these thoughts and ideas build on each other so that I can't jump into a particular point of consternation, not without unravelling everything else that's going on. Nevertheless, to untangle a wire, one must start somewhere.
As a side note: I always wonder whether I should talk about the kinds of things that I feel compelled to online, given that some employer, or someone I know in real life, may very well read this in the future and come off with a possibly skewed impression. What if it affects my career? What if someone approaches me in real life about this? I won't even bother entertaining such questions - I must write.
So, I quit my summer research internship recently. It was a scholarship one too so I would have received a modest stipend. But for several reasons - many only now elucidating themselves to me - I had to quit. Officially I can say I was burnt out and just couldn't muster up the motivation and academic zest to carry on with what would otherwise have been an unnecessarily demanding research project (I was way out of my depth, as usual).
But there are additional aspects to this decision that are harder to put into words. It feels almost disrespectful to say that it was primarily because of a 'gut instinct', but in plain terms it was. I felt, for the first time after a string of research projects which I've had the opportunity to take on in my undergraduate, that my heart just wasn't in it. This sentiment was no fault of my supervisor, the research group, or the project itself. Just the idea of spending a summer on some academic research didn't have the appeal it once had to me.
Going further, however, I felt as if there were other pertinent things on my mind which required immediate attention. Not mental or physical health. Not relationship troubles. Instead, I refer to the thoughts which have been tugging at me for almost an entire year and have now come to fruition, manifesting themselves as mysterious forces from within, dragging me in unknown directions.
Reading books. Learning about complexity theory, improving my mathematical skills and catching up on physics. Writing. Self-improvement. Meditation. What were once chores, necessary on the path of ambition which I had previously laid out for myself, have now become undeniable urges. But other strange things too, like wandering a library and by happenstance, coming across a particular book which holds some meaning for me that I have yet to discover fully.
Leaving the summer internship was a necessary step to freeing time and mental energy to these things which I can no longer avoid.
There is another aspect of my life, however, which has now opened itself up for exploration - my unconscious self. As I understand it, the unconscious expresses itself through dreams, intuition and thoughts which may be attributable to something or someone other than oneself. I've been listening to the audiobook of Carl Jung's autobiography - a man whose entire life was devoted to the exploration of the unconscious - and this has well and truly inspired a spark of curiosity in me to follow a similar path that I could never have dreamed. The unconscious part of me is remarkably more difficult to discuss. It's not only personal but often beyond words. I could explain, for example, how I've been exploring the method of active imagination (daydreaming, in a sense). However, such an endeavour would be doomed from the outset without some bearings from which to navigate such a strange and peculiar landscape. So, for now, I'm afraid that will remain private until I have a better understanding of myself.
Where to now? Maximising productivity concerning the things I wish to do - learning to code in Python, learning German, mathematics, physics, reading, writing, working, and all the other usual healthy things - seems to be a laudable aim. However, the pursuit of self-improvement in and of itself no longer presents itself with quite the same rosy light as it once did. I'm no longer too worried about progressing valiantly on the path which has laid itself out in front of me. At least, not in quite the same verve which had previously coloured my private cogitations and actions on such things. After some thought, I've come to a different kind of modus from which to approach the coming weeks; perhaps I can give myself a moment to breathe, and rather than rushing along, eager to reach the end, I might pause and appreciate the scenery on the trail. Let's see how that goes.