Do you ever question your profession or how you make your living? I do it too often these days and it bothers me. I am struggling with this for a number of reasons. I do not want my distaste for the corporate life to be misconstrued for laziness or an unwillingness to put in the hours. God only knows how much I have sacrificed to get to where I am today. Perhaps it is the exhausting self-competitiveness I possess or the constant self-indulgent need to achieve that has created this bad after-taste. In otherwords, burnout, yes, but also a longing for self-actualization, if I am to use Maslow’s theoretical term. Man! There are a lot of “self’s” in this paragraph – probably a testament to how desperate I am to connect more deeply with who I am and to what I am truly meant to be doing.
This inner questioning is also bothering me because I am of the mindset that you always have a choice, and that you can either choose to change something, or choose to accept it. I apply this principle to all aspects of my life, so why am I finding it particularly difficult in this context? There is no personal fulfillment in the work I do. When I go home every day, I have no great feelings of pride or accomplishment. The success of completing and delivering presentations or launching products has lost its allure, and quite frankly, is shallow and meaningless in the grander scheme of life. These emotions I am experiencing are dormant and lurk beneath the surface of my skin. They emerge when provoked or awakened as was the case last night and as is the case too often these days.
I watched Freedom Writers yesterday and I was deeply moved. Such true stories are a humbling reminder of the world outside our cushy lifestyles. They depict the harsh reality that is life to so many people. They also shed light on those few rare fighters whose plight is to propel change and make a difference. I have always had this feeling in my gut that my calling in life is to help others. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing someone change or grow because of the influence you have had on them. I wish to be part of such change. To bring meaning to peoples lives. To touch people… I wont be remembered for being promoted into corporate management quickly or for the late hours I have put in. What I am saying may sound somewhat cliched. I assure you I am neither having a mid-life crisis nor am I experiencing a momentary hunger for humanitarian activity because of last night’s movie. These feelings are real and they have been inside me for long. I dream of starting a charity for the forgotten children of Palestine. To educate them, to support them, to give them hope. To tell them that life exists outside the hell hole of refugee camps and hunger and fighting and poverty that is all they have ever known…
Is this a leap of faith I should take? Have any of you left the corporate life to pursue something of your own? What do you want to be remembered for?
I’m very fortunate. I travel a lot and take lots of pictures. I’m very bad at sharing them however and in this new age of digital cameras and password protected computers, what is happening is that thousands of photos continue to occupy the hard disk of my laptop, generally without visitation rights. Back in the day when we used traditional film and photographs were printed, at least they were sorted out in an album, tended to with more care and visited by whomever’s fingers happened upon the photo book.
I’ve therefore decided to retrace my Italian vacation city by city in an effort to share more of the photos I have taken and to find a way to document that experience so that I can return to its memory as often as I like.
We landed in Geneva and drove to Lake Como. Arriving into the city is at first unimpressive as it is a surprisingly bigger town than one would expect and looks rather typical of other Italian cities. As soon as the lake comes into view however, that impression is quickly transformed into one of awe. The lake is serene and beautiful, nestled amidst lush green mountains dotted with beautiful houses. My eyes curiously made their way up and down the mountains as I played the mental game of “which one is George Clooney’s house?” There is not much to do in this beautiful town yet it was swarming with visitors, mostly elderly Americans and a few honeymooners. Our hotel was an impressive structure reminiscent of Italian history and the view from our room was a breathtaking view of the lake.
We were there for only 2 days so we didnt get a chance to see very much as Mother Nature rained down on us for a full day however you can take a ferry and discover the lakes romantic views as well as the neighboring towns around the lake. Visit the many mansions dotting the area, walk through the old town square and see the impressive cathederal. You can also visit the village of Brunate located at an altitude of 712 m on a hill overlooking Lake Como and reached by car or a funicolare. The funicolare experience is wonderful as the ride up offers incredible views and the village is delightful.
Arriving in Lake Como by car – view from my window, spotted with rain drops
From left: 1. a local hand-made keepsake from the village of Brunate; 2. the funicolare to take you up to and down from Brunate; 3. local fishing boat resting on the edge of the lake
Avoid September and the colder months that follow however. We were there for 2 days. It was cold and rained a whole day so there wasnt much to do as the experience of Lake Como is in being outside. If you’re planning a trip and need tips and advice on what to see and do, visit http://www.discovercomo.com.
In my post before last (eons ago yes!) I committed to completing a photo assignment I had taken upon myself to complete no matter how long it took me. In the interest of attempting to finish something I’ve started (rare!), here is the first of my photos that fall into this “magical” theme I am pursuing.
This was taken at Piazza Navona in Rome, Italy. I watched this little girl frantically jump around bouncing in all directions, hungrily catching the bubbles coming out of a toy contraption that a street vendor attempted to sell – as though her every happiness depended upon it – and I could not take my eyes off her. In that moment, nothing else existed for her but that bubble chase. I envied the innocent pleasure that children derive from the simplest of things. I suppose my intention in pursuing this theme was to capture moments that, every time I looked at that photo evoked those same emotions I felt when I first took it. In this instance, that emotion was pure joy.