Saturday. It's been a relaxing yet productive day, a great combination.
In the morning I got some advice from Leo's brother (who's a musician) on how to change my broken guitar string, and managed to do it without much fuss. Even though people keep telling me how easy it is I had imagined that I would botch it somehow - either by breaking the string or breaking the guitar - but none of that happened and after five minutes I found myself with a perfectly tuned six-string guitar. A somewhat anti-climactically successful operation.
From there I proceeded to do the first couple of modules for the Guitar for Beginners course through Coursera. For the next six Saturdays I will be following this class from the Berklee College of Music. The plan is to continue with another few music-related courses after this but let's not get ahead of ourselves, I'll keep my eyes and feet on the ground and chart out the path as the six weeks end.
So in total I have enrolled myself into three courses and have capped that for now. I'm saving the other ones that I am interested in in a list, but for now I'm focusing on finishing Guitar for Beginners, the Computational Social Science (CSS) specialisation (it includes five four-week courses), and East Asian Confucianisms: Humanism (1). For the non-guitar courses, as they don't require practising, I can go at any pace, so in a burst of energy I finished the first course of CSS today. I'm basking in the afterglow of acquiring new knowledge.
The beauty of the MDEC programme is that until the end of the year I'll get to collect the certificates of all the courses that I finish (for free). This is a small incentive for me to be serious and keep the learning going, even though so far my cert-collecting activities have not really been strategic. Probably if I were to be more career-oriented I would focus the choice of courses on a given direction, but that sucks the fun out of everything, so I'm not going to do that. The year is young yet and let's see what emerges.
I think that above everything else, I've finally regained some structure in my life. All that nervous energy of the past couple of weeks has been directed at something constructive finally. Next week the next phase of the AI and Southeast Asia project starts, so structure will also return work-wise, which is good. I like structure but lack the self-discipline to impose it on myself, so it has to be a good mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. I think right now we've got the proportions right :)