I’m half-way through, what seems to be an ever increasingly frustrating half-year period. (I guess I could be about one quarter way through an ever increasingly frustrating year, but i’l choose the optimistic perspective for the sake of argument).
For a bit of background, let’s start back in Decemeber 2003, as we were planning our participation in the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva. Having spent the better part of 18 months trying to establish our little company/organisation/project in the realm of ict’s for the developing world, we had the ultimate good news only days before I left for Geneva. We were to receive a grant from the Open Society Institute to work on a project called the Wireless Roadshow. Our project. Our grant. Our Ideas, our ideals and our idealism. I was reenergizd, ready to throw myself at the project, put whatever energy and hours were necessary into proving that they had made the right decision, backing a couple of inexperienced techies in the complex world of development.
Geneva was an extremely exciting experience. Having gotten our, admittedly, tiny grant, meant I wasn’t begging for money there, but rather telling the world of the exciting project we were about to launch into. The place was full of everyone who is anyone working with wireless in the developing world. I met people who’s work I had read, or whom I knew through on-line correspndence and/or by reputation. From Dr. Onno Purbo from Indonesia, over Mike Best (formerly of MIT), the folks from the Jhai Foundation, and a good number of friends and acquaintances that I had had the pleasure of meeting before. I was fired up and ready to rear.
3 and a half months have passed since then, and instead of having spent at least 3 of them working on this wonderful project, I find myself sitting here in a small apartment in Vienna, having spent, perhaps, the equivalent of 4 full weeks on this project. Hampered by knee-surgery, family tragedies, extended periods of severe lower-back pain, and an ever more frustrating time-waste called a tax audit, I feel like I have gotten precisely nothing one since those exciting days in December. And I’d planned it all so well, with this next week being a week of to spend with my grandfather here in Austria, and with a 3-week vacation coming up where Signe and I are going to Vancouver to visit some of our closest friends. This period of vacation was supposed to come between 3 months of hard work, and an extended period of even more hectic work, and loads of travelling once we got the Roadshow started.
Instead, it arrives just as the work that I have had to postpone on the Roadshow, starts piling up to a degree where it’s no longer even remotely amusing.
The feeling of not having done t least 2 dozen things I promised to do since winter. The frustration and stress from an extended feud with the tax authorities. The running out of the savings that I have been subsisting on for the past 18 months. And the feeling that I am not, even remotely, living up to the responsibilites that come with even a small grant like the one we got or the Wireless Roadshow. And all that while I am starting on the first of 4 weeks of vacation to come in the next 6 weeks. It’s stressful to a degree that I can’t remember feeling since I leftthe dot-com world to go to Ghana in late 2000.
And for the first time i my life I find myself wondering whether I will be able to disconnect and relax while on vacation. The last frontier of a slacker mentality. I am I losing it?