East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Fear of the future

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I joined a new MOOC last saturday.
For those not in the know, MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course.
I’m an enthusiastic supporter of online education, and I think learning something new is still one of the best things you can invest your time in.
And when you’re stuck in the backwoods of nowhere, it helps feel a little less intellectually isolated.

So starting on the second week of January, I’ll be taking a 12-weeks course called Disasters and Ecosystems: Resilience in a Changing Climate.


This is a pretty tough course, judging from the program, but it’s also very much up my alley – I’m an environmental scientist, and resilience has been one of my pet topics (my first research project proposal – that was obviously refused as “too complicated” – was about using plankton fossils to gauge ecosystem resilience).

It will be fun.

But something else surfaced that gave me pause – I fidgeted for about one full afternoon about the opportunity of enrolling in the course.
Which is weird – as I said it’s my field of study, I’m interested in the topic, and the course is free.

And yet I was scared.
And I think that what scared about the idea of enrolling was the twelve weeks commitment.
Which is silly – because as I mentioned elsewhere, I’m fully booked and pretty well planned-out for the whole of 2015.
I’ve got lots of long terms commitments for the coming year.
And yet – the situation in this country and in this house is so uncertain, that really I don’t know what I’ll be doing in March 2015.
I can plan my writing, and actually I did.
But deciding to go and start a sequence of lessons, exams, essay-writing and reviewing… it frankly caused me a deep unease.

tumblr_lbwm6jmckq1qamlhfo1_400Sometimes fear of the future sneaks in.
Much as I plan it, I do not have control of my future.

Which of course means I don’t need to worry, because I can’t do anything about it.
So I just enrolled and that’s it.
But I felt weird.

So now I think I’ll join a second course, too – about the history and archeology of Stonehenge.
What the heck, I’m not scared.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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