Saturday, February 21, 2009

Scrapheap challenge

You know plans, right? Those things we like to make when we are trying to avoid doing real work. The stuff that when done well, makes the whole project half-way ready, or things that are made so they can be changed later.

Or occasionally, those things that you can just scrap and forget about. There are two ways to look at this. One is that a "project" starts with an idea, then a plan is made (at which point the idea is often lost, at least if planning takes place in a committee), it's then changed a couple of times and it all ends when the plans are scrapped.

There's another angle, however. Everything starts with some old plans being scrapped. Everything starts with learning from old mistakes, and you start your new project with more knowledge than you'd have if you'd managed to convince yourself that you got this brand new idea that needs to be materialised. An old plan crashing and burning often brings down with it old ideas and unrealistic or misguided expectations, and so the collateral damage of the old plan helps to make the new plan more feasible and more likely to succeed.

Ok, enough of this cryptic nonsense. I had to cancel my registration at the Paris Marathon. There was no way I could get in shape in time - I've not been able to do the training I thought I needed, but most importantly it didn't look likely that I'd be able to pick it up the coming month. Moreover, what was supposed to be a healthy balance for work has become an additional stress.

So, the plan is dead, long live the new plan! Marathon is still on, but I'll have to find another date, possibly Finlandia Marathon in the end of the summer, possibly something sooner. This also helps me to diversify training - I've signed up for a gym membership, first time ever. In Cambridge I didn't need to, there were good facilities for Uni members, more so for the boatclub, and even some organised by the college. The university gym was crowded, hot, but at least it was open from early till late. Here things are different. It's amazing to think that we have the only sports science faculty in the country, and for all 14 000 students and 3000 staff there is one gym, not very big, and it's open only from 8 AM to 8 pm. They've opened a "gym" just for staff, which is open 8 AM - 4 pm. And they even specify, that using the gym isn't part of your working hours. So, you have to do extra time in the evening so you can use the staff gym (which is basically a closet in the bomb-proof basement of the admin building, and has about 2 machines) during the day. Smart. Really good thinking - I'm sure the investment will prove to be a good one.

So, I'm going to see what SATS has to offer on Monday. If I like it, I'll sign up and start making new plans based on being a paying member. At least their opening hours are based on what their customers need and not on janitors' working hours or something random.

On other news, plenty of scrapped plans and changes on the way in life in general. My three-year relationship recently ended and now there's the fun of packing things, trying to remember who owns the kettle and who bought the chair and of course the sadness of saying goodbye - to the person, and also everything that goes with a person, being a couple and living together. Sad, but I feel that this plan had to be scrapped so that something new can be given birth at some point in the future.

(Pic: NASA)

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