I genuinely did not expect to be doing as well with my work up here in Hometown as I've been doing lately. Usually, when I need to tune out my family's yammering for a bit, I hole up in some corner and passive-aggressively alternate between checking my email repeatedly and playing computer games and haughtily tell my family that I'm working and whatever it is will have to wait. (There, I said it. Now you all know the sort of scum that I am at base.) But this time, I think the realization that I have to be, as it were, my own supervisor, has sunk in: if I screw around, I no longer have an advisor or departmental mentor to get on my case and remind me of my professional future. That realization, coupled with the close-up view of some of my relatives whose professional fatalism ("I'm not gonna think about that now, it'll work itself out somehow, won't it?") has essentially trapped them in jobs (if not entire lives) that they hate, may have jump-started my ability to pursue academic work while hanging around Hometown. I suddenly remember much clearer than I have in a while how all this quiet desperation spurred me to apply to graduate school.
There are jobs to apply for! articles to draft! editors to pester! There are even travel plans to make, now that I have my ticket purchased for Research City! There are also some out-of-nowhere family obligations to keep, but I'm optimistic that I can juggle those successfully. As long as I regard my family stuff as another task to be completed thoughtfully and carefully, like everything else on my to-do list, I should be relatively okay.
...On the other hand — to give you all a little bit of literary foreshadowing, should it become necessary later — it could all blow up in my face, given that I have agreed to spearhead dinner preparations for a large family meal a few weeks from now. That will, no doubt, be a post all its own.
2 years ago