Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free Association in Downward Dog

You guys, it is RAINING.  I can't tell you how happy I am about this.  It was supposed to come overnight and when I woke up at 5:00 and it was not raining I was disappointed.  Like a child-like, totally out of proportion kind of disappointed.  But then I sneaked downstairs (hard to do with my poppy-creaky knees) and checked the radar and sure enough, it was still on its way.  Which was great because I go to yoga on Tuesday mornings and I'm hoping one day we have a massive thunderstorm during class because I think that would be really cool.

So during yoga this morning (and the rain didn't start until after class, but that's ok because I didn't get to finish class anyway because someone had a blowout in the nursery.  Without naming names, it was the only one of the children who continues to wear a diaper during the day who also cannot speak or walk), when I was supposed to be emptying my mind and focusing on my breath and the way my feet felt "pushing the earth out of its orbit" (eye roll), all I could think about was my career.  LUCKY YOU.

So last night at yoga (am an overachiever this week) the teacher was talking about how women are so hard on themselves and I was thinking about how I'm kind of afraid to do things that I don't think I will succeed at.

For example.  My stupid publication THAT WILL NEVER BE FINISHED.  Why am I having so much trouble finding time to work on it?  I miss doing research.  I miss knowing things.  I miss reading and writing.  I miss being part of the community I was once in.  That Tuesday a few weeks ago when Ryan took the day off and gave me the whole day to write?  WAS ABSOLUTE HEAVEN.  I don't know how I can remedy those things long term, but I do have this paper right now that I need to write already.  I do have time; I need to force myself to do it.  It doesn't matter if it gets accepted or not, the point is that I am doing SOMETHING.  I need to finish that something before I can see the next something. It's time to stop looking for the perfect job and start doing the job I have in front of me well.  Eventually if I finish enough little jobs, I will probably be able to figure out the rest (maybe?). 

Things are not going to get any easier, time-wise.  My lecture course starts again in January and I decided not to use the lab book this time so I have to write my own lab material.  I've taught the course before but it's on M-W-F this time instead of T-Th, so I'll have to rework things a little bit and add in some more class participation so I don't have to talk so much.  The best time for the publication (kind of an optimistic thing to call it, isn't it?) is right now until the end of December.  I can have a draft done in that time, but I'll have to focus (not my strong suit, as evidenced by having all these thoughts DURING YOGA CLASS).

The other thing I was doing this morning was fantasizing about what it would be like to live in our college town again.  I feel like doing this would be fairly simple, since Ryan left on such good terms.  I'm not sure *I* would be able to find work, since I have been such a slacker in the intervening years, but it's the last place I remember feeling smart and competent and I think that's what I want more than a relocation.  Because it really would be just like our life here but with a smaller house, fewer friends, worse weather (HARD TO IMAGINE), and no family around (and possibly, closer proximity to the kind of job I want but without the actual ability to HAVE that job, which I think would be doubly frustrating).

For now I will enjoy the rain.  And as soon as James is in bed tonight I am going to "rework the discussion section to better reflect our goals" (based on Dr. Coauthor's advice).


Brooke said...

I totally feel your pain about the frustrations of failure/success/uncertainty in academia. And about how hard it can be to focus in yoga class. I hope you find a method that works for you, even if it means take out food and a dirty house for the next month. You deserve to put yourself first, which, admittedly, would probably be easier if work weren't so, well, HARD and worklike, you know? Good luck.

Sarah said...

I hate work because it is so hard and work like. Well said, Brooke. I am 100% on your boat. I say I don't have time but I don't want to do it because what if it sucks? So much angst.

sarah said...

Ain't existential angst grand?

I totally get the wanting to feel smart and competent (which, hello? You have a PhD and teach college students and are raising THREE kids--you are the definition of competent and smart). I feel this way, too, but I've not stepped into a classroom in 6 years in any capacity but as mom-dropping-off-child. In a way, its a little comforting to know that my existential angst would just take a different form if I were in fact still involved in academics and/or professional endeavors.

You'll find a way to make it all work--in the long run, there's time for all of it, even if it doesn't feel like it right now. Ommmmmm.....

Bridget McCarthy said...

I'm totally taking a class through our local Rec & Education Program about Norway come January because (1) I like to learn and I've been missing all the good documentaries that air on TV and (2) that way I don't have to focus on what I really, really want to do because I'm afraid I'll fail at it.

On a side note, to this day I still brag about my mom, who graduated with a 4.plus GPA double major after having 4 kids within 5 years and did some other amazing things when she was raising us. I have no recollection of what the house looked like although my mother assures me it was a disaster for YEARS and she was always so embarrassed if people stopped over unannounced.

(I also don't know too many people who brag about how their Mom always kept up with the dishes.)

Erica said...

I was also extremely cranky when it wasn't raining early this morning. I was like, "IT SAID 80%, COME ON."

Anonymous said...

This post makes me happy for a lot of reasons. You used "sneaked" properly, you checked the radar for the storm, you talked about how much fun research is, and you love the rain. Wish I could hang out with you RIGHT NOW! :)

Rima said...

From here it looks like you are still very much part of an academic community and doing, especially considering that you are raising three kids (everything Sarah said! Superstar = you), although I get that it may not seem that way to you when you compare yourself to others who have the same degree. But trust me: rock star!

That said, finish the paper. You will feel so good about it. I've been working on a project (okay, a book) for the past several months and even if it never sees the light of day, I'm going to finish the damn thing!

SnarkyMommy said...

This sounds so familiar, just substitute "yoga class" for "sitting on my ass" and finishing a research paper instead of finishing my novel, and we are twinnies.

It will come. It will. I promise. In four years when all three are in full-time school and you have more daytime quiet, it will happen. Maybe not the perfect timetable, but still a doable one.