It's been forever since I've been here last time. So long in fact that I've started to avoid even checking the place (this falls under the good old rule that if you can't see it, it doesn't exist). To get even more exact I haven't written anything here in a month. Blimey.
I have on the other hand had quite a productive month. Easter came and went. I spent most of it at Imatra (nine days altogether), enjoyed the arrival of spring, practised my old pastime of throwing the remaining snow around and once again noticed how lovely it is to have a yard and a garden. I had planned to dedicate one of the Easter days to telling you all of the connection between Easter and Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, but then I never got around to it. Maybe next year, ay?
I also went to Iceland and enjoyed six days in Reykjavik and surroundings. Got to see geysirs and mountains, craters and water falls, Icelandic ponies and plenty of rocks, moved from the American tectonic plate to the Eurasian and spent an hour getting steamed in the Blue Lagoon. Again, if you remember my photobucket address and want to take a look, head that way!
The trip to Reykjavik was a work-related thingy, a Nordic seminar in legal history. I had a workshop paper about legal professionalism as I mentioned before, and, well...I guess it didn't go altogether badly. Quite a few people actually said that they liked the presentation and after some consideration I'm liable to believe that most of them did mean it (this falls under the good old rule of don't believe everything people say, since often they are just being polite, want to make you feel good or are afraid to hurt your feelings). I actually do like the paper myself, but the problem is that I'm not sure if it is good enough. And here, of course, we come to the essential question: good for what, good enough compared to...what?
I've been reading books again, you see. Psychological books. The sort of why-are-you-not-happy-with-life -type of books. They speak of comparing yourself to other people and thereby either feeling miserable or happy with life. As in let's say you are relatively smart (who me?) and you decide to compare yourself on a daily basis to people like, say, Einstein or Kant or whoever is the chosen geeky name of your field. This is not a productive comparison, counteractive even some might say, and likely to make you feel like an idiot, even if you're really not. Like comparing yourself to Bill Gates would make you feel like a pauper, even if you had a million to your name (definitely not me!). So the lesson - one of them - is to choose more carefully your points of comparison.
Well, actually that still doesn't help terribly much. Even if I compare myself to people who are professionally at about the same level, I find it difficult to judge my own skills. In some things I'm behind, since I'm a lazy buffoon and haven't really done enough in the past few years; in other things I can measure up quite nicely.
The Reykjavik-trip was also rather instructive in teaching me why it is that I've been a lazy buffoon for so long. You see, there were two quite interesting presentations there - or to put it in other words, the other one was brilliant, the best I've ever heard, the I'm-still-excited-about-it -type of fabulous. The other one was just ordinary good. Now, the thing is that neither of these guys had their primary background in law: the one came from the field of literature, the other from theology. They spoke of things that are really interesting in law - values, morality, human interests - and I remembered again what interested me in the law in the first place: justice, protection, getting even. All the wrong reasons (considering a career in law), but I think that story can still wait. For the story in question the important thing is that I realised that research can truly be fun, but that one has to be genuinely interested about one's research questions.
And so, now for two days I've gone to work excited and eager to hit the archives. And, whether thanks to this newfound excitement or the book I'm reading, the evenings have expanded and slowed down. Yesterday I was sitting at the balcony, reading a book and I realised that I have hours every evening to do things. Not just watch tv and surf the net until it is time to go to bed, but do things. Opportunities are endless. Like last Saturday I backed my bag and went to sunbath on the backyard of our apartment house (the summer has decided to pay us a temporary visit) and for the first time ever I felt that summer and the city is perhaps not a totally impossible combination after all. Don't take me wrong, I still intend to head to the countryside, but I do believe it is perhaps, maybe not impossible to enjoy being in the city during a summer.
Gosh, now was that...interesting? Let's read that through again and see, if I'll hit the publish or the delete button.