Age is the greatest fire extinguisher 1


Rumblings of an ex-activist in his early 30s

It seems like a short while ago when no dream seemed like just a dream. Making a billion, changing the world, ending poverty, peace and a few such things seemed pedestrian and utterly possible. There was a fire in me to go and be a part of the action, with merely passing doubts about what’s possible. Nothing seemed big, and I wanted to be everywhere.

The thirties have come and my dreams have become smaller. A comfortable bed excites me more than a peace march, and jobs more than work. I fear that a time may come when CVs, pay checks, and paid holidays will dominate my days and worse: my imagination. My fickle motivation for larger things acts like a candle in its last moments, generally low but with moments of brightness and I realize that I am in my thirties.

Five years ago it was Ulysses that captured my imagination, and I wrote bombastically to a friend on my PhD plans, “It is time to seek a newer world, for my purpose holds to sail beyond the sunset and the baths of all the western stars, to strive, to seek to find and not to yield” ; that was of course in those rash twenties. Today, I have found myself and have yielded. King Arthur’s Farewell that I read with relish in school seems more appropriate today as I continue sailing into the ocean of life with my adventures behind me.

I recall with jealousy the evening conversations between friends in high school, when we were united in our differences by nothing but our passionate selves; passion for everything from theoretical physics to beautiful girls. Some fires remain, and I rely on our histories to unite us today.


About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.

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One thought on “Age is the greatest fire extinguisher

  • Ram

    This one and the next post, do ring a big bell in my mind. At some levels, we want to rediscover and reignite the lost passions for social change, while most other times, they are forgotten to enjoy the pleasures & pursuits of our own life …