(This story may bear resemblance to real life incidents. Inspired by discussions with college seniors over a Bangalore weekend.)
Like most people, I have a procrastinator in me. Let’s call him Dawg.
For most part of my childhood, Dawg and I never really got to interact much. Till about age fifteen, Mom and Dad used to control most of how I performed in school, the way I dressed, or how I behaved with the neighborhood aunty. I left home when I was sixteen; Dawg and I have been best friends since. (Remember that evil friend who suggests we discuss girls three hours before an important exam? Dawg is that guy.)
At sixteen, I was in love with Dawg. While kids in China were hacking movie databases at night, Dawg would force me to lie down in the dorm room and think of hot girls who’d wear short white pants, lie down in the grass, smelling of Garnier shampoo. The next day I would head to the internet cafe and read articles about how doing that is crucial to one’s personal development.
At seventeen, I was beginning to doubt Dawg’s intentions. I had wanted to be one of those Chinese-hackers-at-sixteen too, but Dawg insisted that ‘experiencing the crazy things in life’ was more important. Again, while kids in India had now started rolling out their own companies, Dawg explained how it’s important to enjoy life and ‘do crazy shit’. “If you haven’t say, gotten drunk and landed into roadside trouble”, he continued, “you’re a boring guy”.
Sometimes I would just get mad at him. He was playing with my life, how could he? I had things to do – get a job, run a company, go places with good looking women, buy expensive cars and property and …
Living inside me, Dawg knew all of this. Whenever he thought that maybe I’m beginning to feel a little insecure about what I’ll end up doing in life, Dawg had a quick fix – a trip to the stationery store. He would make me pick expensive sticky notes in 6 different colors (one for each priority level) and diaries with photos of romantic animals every one month (presentation is important). He made me research off-budget phones that featured on off-budget magazines across the road next to home. “It comes with a free productivity app that will change your life forever”, he would promise.
I’ve dealt with Dawg for five years now. Thanks to him, I’ve experienced all kinds of positive and negative situations, that have served as valuable lessons. The last couple of years have been especially fast-paced – I’ve learned to program small things that make life easy, to talk like one of those guys who sell their artwork at around 3m a piece, I’ve hung out with girls that smell of multi flavored shampoo.
Unfortunately for both of us, we’ve spent twenty years knowing each other, and I’m going to initiate a break up.
I’ve been looking at minimal, problem-solving design patterns on the web for a while now, and I feel it’s now time I applied it in other contexts. There’s so much of clutter I’d like to clear – books I buy but don’t end up reading, useless apps on the smartphone, the smartphone itself, fancy notebooks and pens amongst other things. Unread books make you look at them twice and make you pick them up and get high. Same with productivity apps or sticky notes or memos and the like. All of these are those silly Dawg memories, and my new year resolution is to de-clutter and get rid of them all.
I know it isn’t going to be easy to get over Dawg, and maybe I’ll just be 75% successful, but that’s still a start. If I can focus on building cool things and blur the rest of the clutter, things will be way more peaceful.
I’ll miss you dawg, you were such a cute thing.