Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The past ~2 years have been pretty hard for me. I defended my dissertation, looked for jobs, took a post doc, got divorced, took a 'real' job and then started blogging here.
When graduation was pending, I had a job that I really wanted, a job that I should have taken, a job that I did take, and 2 jobs that I wasn't quite ready for yet. Don't get me wrong, the job that I ended up with taught me a lot of stuff. It taught me how to be a leader, how to not be so stressed out all the time, and also how to have someone trust me and act like a mentor to me. I'm one of the few that really liked her PhD advisor, we have been, and always shall be, more like friends.
I got married a few years into my PhD work. I married someone who was basically the opposite of me. He seemed to appreciate the long hours I spent in lab, and how I loved what I did. When I became a post-doc, however, he assumed that all of the weekends/holidays would stop, and I'd have a regular 9-5 job with vacation and sicktime. I honestly don't know where he got that impression. I explained to him the track that I was on, and how hard it was going to be. Then, almost a year ago, he decided that he wanted something else out of life. He was jealous of the love I had for my job, and how that love was always going to trump the plans that he decided he needed. So he left. And I told almost no one.
I signed my divorce papers the morning of our annual retreat for the department. There are pictures of me smiling and wii boxing on that day. I have no idea what I was thinking.
And I sublimated my anger and hurt into 12 hour days at work, in which I still feel like I got nothing done. I came home and read papers. And then, at some point, I decided that I wasn't going to go in weekends any more.
I loved my post-doc lab, but I needed a change and funding was always an issue, so I started applying for jobs. At first, I started applying for jobs that I wanted, but I couldn't have taken while I was married. Then, during a freak snowstorm, I applied for a job that seemed perfect, and then another that I thought that was really cool, but that I wasn't smart enough for. 2 months later, I got the latter.
So, while all of this has been going on, how do I find balance?
1. Coming home to the cats. I know that this makes me sound like the crazy cat lady, but I'd much rather be her, than gold sequins lady, or too much lipstick lady. When nothing is working, my cat (who is named after my high school English/Philosophy teacher) finds me for a hug.
2. Cooking. It's like having a lab that always works at home. The bad part is that I gained 50 lbs in grad school. I'm trying to go flexitarian and do yoga to help with this.
3. Friends. There are some of you who, through even the smallest things, have helped me make it to lab the next day during the worst of times. There are ones that I have known through grad school that were just there when I needed them. Now, that I'm feeling much better about the situation, there are even newer ones that make me laugh on a daily basis.
4. Learning to be on my own. It might be a side effect of always being private, or backlash from divorce issues, maybe it's from having to be in charge of a gaggle of UG's, but I really, really, have learned to take some private time to myself. I just need it.
What is different recently? I have a job that I feel like I'm supposed to do. I'm laughing and smiling more. I'm not stressed all the time. I have a home that I love. I have a house mate that makes dinner sometimes. I have wonderful friends (even ones I haven't met IRL). I'm not better, I'm not balanced, but I'm getting there.
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