Monday, August 27, 2007
Okay, I'm back.
After several months of utter self-involvement highlighted by a one-two-three punch of painful loss, unrelenting stress, and painful loss, I am shaking off the last few months and reemerging. I am tired of being sad, tired of hating my life, tired of questioning all the decisions that set me on this course. The start of a new school year is like New Years for me, time to make resolutions, buy snazzy school supplies and new jeans, and feel that sense of renewal, of starting over with a clean slate.
I acknowledge the unhappiness and stress of the past year or so, so I can file them away and move on. Last summer, both dogs were desperately ill and we seemed to be spending every minute caring for them. I only took short daytrips to do collecting, and I badly neglected my lab work. Jazzy's recovery took a long time, well into fall. At Thanksgiving, I lost an uncle to cancer. In early December, it was time for Libby's risky throat surgery, and shortly afterward I learned that I needed to entirely change my dissertation project, and 2 1/2 years of work had led me nowhere useful. I was ready to give up on school, cut my losses and get out, but Jazzy's cancer diagnosis just after Christmas and Libby's recovery distracted me. Then after we lost Jazzy, I managed to formulate a new project, show it to my committee, and gain their approval. The frantic lab work began in which I attempted to prove the project could be done. I wrote the proposal and began studying nonstop for my preliminary exam, gazing gloomily out the window at the cool summer days and then turning back to my pdfs, Libby curled up on the pillow near my feet. The prelim came and went, I passed, and I put the whole event out of my mind entirely; now that I had committed to doing this project, I didn't want to do it anymore. But no rest for the weary, and I headed out for field work, spending many lonely and hot days on the road, seeing some interesting places and many more boring places. Libby declined rather quickly in August, and after an early-morning phone call I drove home as fast as I could, but she was gone before I got there.
Suddenly everything is different. I've been accepted to candidacy and there's nothing left to do but the project, I'm back among my friends at school, everything's fine with the house, Mark is happy with his job, and my babydogs are beyond my need to worry about them. I feel like I've put a difficult phase to rest and am embarking on a new one. I'm feeling good about it so far.