I get it. I didn’t until now. I thought it was just some stupid thing for young kids and not for mature, serious folks like me. I finally gave in and created a profile and have made contacts with lots of people I had lost touch with. I’m really enjoying it. I do wonder what it says about my current situation that the majority of my network is based on contacts I had while I was still living in India and on people I knew during undergrad. Noticeably absent are any people from my grad school years or my years as an Assistant Professor.

The more I think back on who I was through graduate school and beyond, it seems like I became a very different person when I entered graduate school. Like I was told ‘Yes, you can walk down this road but only if you become this kind of a person and leave all these other parts of you behind.’ So, I did, I shucked off parts of myself, left them by the side of the road and took off down this path, carefully cultivating the persona I thought I needed (and wanted). Over the years I seem to have forgotten what I left behind and in the process of reconnecting with old friends I see reflections of who I was before I became an academic. As I get ready to leave academia it is comforting to realize that I did have another identity before I chose this one.

And that right there is the most important thing to remember. I forget that I built this identity over time based on the choices I made. This was not an identity that was thrust on me, or given to me, or one that I was born with. As long as I remember that this was an identity that I created through my choices it seems like a relatively simple thing to ‘unchose’ some of those choices. When I begin to fall into the trap of seeing this as something other than a culmination of my choices, it becomes larger than me, something that was given to me, that I don’t really understand, but that has sort of strange power over me. Sort of like Golum from Lord of the Rings whispering ‘The precious’ about the ring. Now there’s a disturbing image. But come on, haven’t we all met at least one academic who is scrambling around the labyrinths of Academia, looking starved, bitter and angry but is determined to sacrifice all (family, friends, a decent wage) just to have the ‘precious’ – which in this case is the hallowed ‘life of the mind’.

This was supposed to be a short little post about Facebook and how cool it is. I’m too lazy to come up with a more appropriate title. I suppose I should learn not to ramble.