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Suffer, little children…

Since probably about 2010, I’ve been toying with an idea that I consider very important. I can’t really remember the thing that sparked it initially, but I’m sure a lot of it had to do with my experiences in the world of adults – the world of employment – as well as my experiences at the various educational institutions I’ve attended.

That I think there are vast, fundamental problems with education systems, is no secret to anyone who knows me. Thus, what I started thinking about, was a school to teach children to focus on their creativity. Somewhere where kids can discover what their true passion is, and live it, so that they don’t end up the way most of us do – doing jobs we hate to get some money at the end of the month to simply survive.

I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I feel that, if that’s really all there is to life, I really don’t want any part of it.

I started thinking further about how utterly useless and misdirected half the stuff was that I’d learned in school. I started thinking things like, “If only I’d had computer science classes in school,” or “If only I’d had art classes in school.”

And then, I discovered this video, and all these random little thoughts  solidified into one big idea:

Sir Ken Robinson’s 2006 TED Talk on “How Schools Kill Creativity”. If this video doesn’t work for you, for some reason, you can also view it here on the official TED YouTube channel.

See, one of my problems in school was that I was actually quite good at mathematics and science. Not only that – I enjoyed these subjects as well. As a result, everyone kept “guiding” (read: pushing) me in the direction of the sciences, engineering, etc. The trouble was that nobody bothered to look at the fact that I was also really good at art and music and loved writing. I’m not even going to say too much about that – if you watch Sir Ken Robinson’s talk up there, he expresses precisely what I experienced growing up.

And it’s nobody’s fault. Nobody did this with malicious intent – it’s simply the way of the world (it’s messed me up more than pretty much anything else in my life though). This cycle of fear we all get raised to respect.  Continue reading Suffer, little children…

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Reboot – Part 1: Drastic Changes

Grey arrows going in a circle, the last arrow, a red one, breaks the cycle and points in a new direction.

It’s been a year since I’ve started this blog. In that year, so much has happened, but sadly, very little of it was reflected here.

Shortly after leaving the comfort zone of my former employment, despite all my plans and excitement, I crashed and burned. I have lots of theories about this, but I’ll save that for another time.

I think a big part of my problem (?), is how easy I find it to stop doing something that goes against my grain. The moment I discover that a job/company/work environment stands in direct contradiction of my ethics & principles, I’m out of there. I’ve gotten a little better over the years – actually trying to stick it out and fight the good fight; to try to change things for the better. But in a corporate world, any perceived threat to “how we’ve always done things”, is instinctively fought from the get-go. It’s exhausting and I’ve almost always found it entirely fruitless.

Thus, I found myself in this situation again – having left a “safe” job that went against my principles. However, this time I had big plans. Still, another of my problems, is how easily I come up with plans – lots of them, all the time – but how my fear of failure keeps me from executing them. And yes – some of these plans may be utter nonsense, but at the same time, there may just be a great one among them.

Stewing in my dilemma, unable to choose any course of action, I sat around at home, worrying, getting depressed, even manic… Then, at some point, I decided to at least tell my parents (they had no idea that I was unemployed at this stage). I figured if it became necessary for me to become completely dependent on them, they at least deserved to know how I got to that point.

They then asked me if I wouldn’t consider moving back home to live with them. This was not what I had in mind for my new life of freedom, and I immediately rejected the suggestion. They suggested that I could clear my head, start afresh and do my planning from there.

From a financial point of view, it made sense, but in no other way could I think of this as a practical move. My parents live in a tiny town in the southern Free State. It’s extremely rural, unemployment rates are sky-high, and frankly, there is no work even remotely related to any of the fields I’ve studied. I couldn’t imagine it being a good place to start from. It felt like it would set me back even further than I was already – unemployed with no prospects, but now also in the middle of nowhere, 200km away from the nearest place that can actually be considered a city.

The irony is that, even as far back as 2010, I’ve expressed to another friend how much I’d actually love to live in my home town again. I’ve always loved the peace, the relative solitude, being so close to nature. When he asked me what was stopping me from moving back, I pretty much regurgitated the previous paragraph with some minor changes here and there. It came up again one day. He asked me again what was keeping me from doing it, and when I started listing the reasons again, he interrupted and said that I was just making excuses, because nothing I was telling him sounded serious enough or insurmountable to the extent that it should actually keep me from doing it.

But still, I stuck around, trying to “find my way”.

The turning point came in late April (2013). One day after I was due to go and see a Life Coach I had met to try to sort out my issues (and couldn’t, because my unreliable car gave up on me), my mom phoned me and told me that my dad had been taken up in hospital. He had had a minor stroke. Continue reading Reboot – Part 1: Drastic Changes