Thursday, February 22, 2007

feeling overprocessed

I don't know if it's time of year, my situation, or a lot of other things combined, but I am really frustrated and tired of leading a life that feels provisional and temporary. Being in graduate school has that effect -- in fact, my life is not as provisional and temporary as graduate students' lives are supposed to be. Graduate students are supposed to be single-minded in their pursuit of the degree. They are barely expected to have lives and other interests. I have a mortgage, and a husband, and nearby family that I like to visit, and until recently a real job. These are things that are really not part of the typical graduate student landscape. We're really supposed to be locked alone in a garret and writing by the light of a single, bare bulb. Or that's at least what I tell myself when I'm feeling particularly peevish.

I think part of the reason that I am experiencing certain people as unsupportive and hypercritical is that their job is to be focused on the end product of my studies, while it is only human nature for me to be mired in the process of it all. And, at the same time that I have this huge, heavy project hanging over my head, there are also the fears and disappointments of the job search process, and lots of other things in my life that are in process, like weight loss.

All this process has me feeling overprocessed, like white bread that has had all the nutritional value removed but has been injected with vitamins so that it can minimally sustain life. It's not so much that I feel depressed as I feel empty and tired, but am acutely aware that there is a lot of work that's not doing itself while I grope around for meaning.

I thought I'd try to get this whiny stuff cleared out of the way so that I can get to that work. Not surprising that this stuff is hard. It just seemed to hit me with more force than usual today. The funny thing is, I just said yesterday that I was going to give up worrying for Lent.


  1. Very perceptive - you are focusing on being in the middle of the process and others (and I think I could name a couple) are focused on seeing what you produce at the end of the process.

    White bread may not be a nutritious as whole wheat bread or Ezekiel bread. But it does sustain life and keeps it going.

    Groping for meaning is part of being an aware adult. And being empty means you have space to be refilled again. It's part of The Process of Life.

    Yes, it's hard. But it's not whiny, it's just honest :) I'm proud of you for owning what's going on.

  2. I hit this same thing when I was churning away on my Master's Thesis. The only way to make it end is to keep on truckin'. Hang in there! Remember that the people around you have seen others go through the same thing and come out victorious. You will, too.

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head with your feelings and this whole process of getting the degree.

    It's one thing to be in a transitional state but it's another to feel frustrated, worried and not getting positive reinforcement about what you're doing.

    At least you're recognizing it and trying to cope with it. Perhaps you need to do something fun unrelated to a dissertation, responsibilities, etc.

    You do have a lot of friends rooting for you and you're not alone. Hang in there!


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07