Thursday, March 20, 2008

a break, finally

I have a lot of ideas for a great post kicking around in my head, but today it felt like the weight of the world rolled off the spinning plate I was using to balance it over my head and fell on me. Since I've taken my Snazzy New Job, it feels like not much has gone right. I know that it really isn't true: I have a new house that I love, a great family, friends that I neglect terribly, beautiful kitties... lots of things are going well. But with my commute and the frequent travel, I feel like I barely have the energy to keep my head above water. I thought my dissertation was hard until I graduated and got a job. Now I'm daydreaming about being a graduate assistant, which was a perfect life except for the lack of money and the unfinished dissertation hanging around my neck like an albatross. I was fit, walked to work, took care of myself, and enjoyed my writing some of the time.

Lately I've felt just plain FINE: Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional, as my shrink used to say when I had time to see her. I have felt on the verge of tears at inopportune and inappropriate moments. I've been trying to do what I can: Squeeze in some time for exercise, find a way to make my commute more pleasant, remind myself how lucky I really am. But I've still been irritable. Just one example: A friend sent a picture message to my telephone. I don't pay for bells and whistles on my cell phone besides a minimal texting plan, and I was unreasonably annoyed by this, because it reminded me that I haven't been in touch with her and that she probably felt hurt about that, and I couldn't handle the sense of guilt along with all my stress. I sent back a snappish message and immediately felt bad. But I still didn't call back like I should have.

I am hoping that my friends have other, better friends to talk to besides grouchy, angry, resentful me. I'm getting by better than you would think from this post, but barely. I have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope that everything works out the way it needs to. And I'm taking a few days off to catch up on non-work responsibilities and maybe squeeze in a little R&R.

Hopefully, after a few days I'll be able to cheerfully get back to Snazzy Job and remember again why I felt lucky to get it.


  1. Don't worry - we all feel F.I.N.E. now and again. Give yourself a break, you're only human.

  2. I like that expression of F.I.N.E.

    I think, Jen, you're still figuring out the balances in your life and you've had a lot of major stresses going on with the job, the commute, the move, selling your house, and everything else. It's just going to take some time to figure out what's important to you and how you can get those things in your life the way it is now. Of course, you're going to be irritable and all of these things. Your life is hard. Just the commuting takes a lot out of you.

    I commuted from way up near WV to downtown DC and I didn't even have to drive. But I was always exhausted and tired (and I was probably younger than you are now). It's draining.

    So I hope you have some R&R and take care of yourself.

  3. In case you want it, you have permission to be irritable and grouchy. Within reason. We all have times when those traits win out over being sweetness and light, with everything falling into place. The pendulum has swung that way for you with the Post PhD period.

    Daydreaming about a time when things were different for you is pretty normal. Maybe part of what you can pull from it are elements, both big and little, to apply to your new life.

    Remember that your friends support you and can maybe cheer you out of the grouchies. You've been there for me, I'm there for you. So don't forget.

    Hope the R&R actually is restful and leaves you recharged.

  4. Hi! I just found your blog, and I'm very pleased to discover that you echo many of my weight loss concerns in your "About this Blog" section. I, too, long for a time when I don't think about my weight. I am a grad student--with my unfinished dissertation hanging heavily around my neck :) I *will* graduate by Aug. '09.

    I just started my very own Weight Watchers blog--I'm hoping that it can help me (and maybe others) deal with weight loss struggles.


"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