And so it went, finishing my thesis in Rodellar. I remember the late Max Boisot telling us how he wrote his thesis in a cafe in Paris, and since I had a fixation on finishing my thesis somewhere where it would be meaningful for me to do so. Rodellar is one of those places with a soul, a meaningful place full of surreal beauty and mysterious secrets filling the air, the clouds, and influencing even the heartless humans who wander in and out of its realm, like Montserrat, or Ventosa, or Grand Capucin. One keeps coming back to the source of water, to the source of life, to get one more gulp, to drink just a little more before it's all over, before the darkness sets in. Meanwhile, the sun shines bright.
Finishing my thesis in Rodellar, picture by Jonas
Although this is purely symbolic, and I will continue working on improving my current papers, writing more, and some again, working on similar topics, it is still necessary to get closure, to set things into writing on the floating sand of life, to put the final dot over the i. So it is, finishing my thesis in Rodellar. This stage took five years of my life, with doubts but also excitement and intellectual growth along the way. I have met several inspiring people, read many curious stories, and could exercise my writing - while learning a lot along the way. I did not expect, in my self-assured know-it-all way, to learn so much.
When I look back, it is a good feeling to realize I have grown - intellectually and emotionally - along the lines of my growing thesis. No counterfactual exists, as usual, and I will not know if I might have grown in a similar - or different - way even without undertaking this PhD project, maybe by marrying, having children, and turning into a completely different direction with my life. That did not happen, nevertheless I am satisfied with what I have done and where I have come. The road has been long and winding, but here I am, finishing my thesis in Rodellar. It almost sounds like a song, let it be a poem, let it be a bird. My thesis might not fly and stay grounded, but I feel liberated, in a way more free, more confident, by arriving at the end of this project, with energy and enthusiasm for the ones to come.
It is not the book that I always dreamt to write - it is a mere 130 double-spaced pages, but it is something I did with perspiration and love, and I am proud whatever the result, whatever the external judgment calls might say. With its exciting ups and painful downs, like the climbing projects, perseverance pays off when things are under your control, and some dreams can be achieved. Setting the bar high enough to be able to jump over, just low enough to be motivated by the slight possibility of making it, that remains the art. Let the journey continue, let the projects come and go while the time runs its own course in its own direction of things.