Hello from summer. Here I sit in my adorable house, with no real work to do, and weeks left of free time to play with before the semester starts. It’s pretty great. The flying buttress and I have traveled to some much-beloved places, eaten some incredibly delicious food, hiked some good hikes (I will not lie – I hugged the first redwood I saw), and spent some quality time with friends we left back in our favorite state. Now we are being productive adults. F.B. is working all summer on his book manuscript. I am pretending to be a housewife, taking the time to really settle into the house, cook great healthy food, and crossfitting my butt off. There’s also some novel reading and afternoon-movie-watching in there. Me being me, all of this unstructured time gave me a lot of anxiety for the first few weeks. But now I’m settled into it and getting a lot out of it.
I will say that I have definitely learned that this is not my favorite kind of scheduling. Next week will be exactly one year since we moved here and I only just unpacked the last box. This is because: 1 partner with a 4/3 and massive grading requirements + 1 partner adjusting to his first year on the tenure track ≠ time to unpack. Or even do laundry. I can definitely see the appeal of working non-stop for 9 months in order to get three months off, but it just doesn’t work for me. I spend to much time feeling anxious about all the things that aren’t getting done during the year, and then agonizing about how best to use my time over the summer. Then again once I feel like I’m ready to jump ship, I worry about having such constricted vacations. If I have a “regular” job will I have time to visit family and friends who are scattered around the country, and finally get out and do some serious long-range backpacking like I’ve always wanted? I am, after a year year here, still frozen with indecision about what next steps to take. And I’m worried that I’m using those traveling fantasies as a way of keeping myself frozen. My kingdom for a therapist who is not a homophobe and is less than a 1 1/2 hour drive away! *shakes fist at Red State*
One of the things I’ve been thinking about a lot is my struggle with the fact that I’ve given up a lot of control over my own life by tying myself to F.B’s career. I am still not very happy with our current location, but I keep feeling like I should just suck it up and stop whining because I made the choice to be with him and this is what that means. This is not to say, of course, that that is the end of it. Long distance is an option, again, and may be a necessity if I am ever going to break free of composition. But I am actually very happy living with F.B., regardless of where that is, and so I am loath to give it up. It’s strange that I am only really feeling this lack of control this year, given that the academic job market afforded me no luxuries in that regard. But it was easier to feel like I had some control over my life, even if I didn’t. I could put out applications and fantasize about the possibilities. I could even decide not to apply for certain jobs if I wanted to. And certainly I do in fact have some control here, since my ability to have a life that I’m happy with factors into F.B.’s career decisions. This is all to say, that it’s much more complicated than it feels. But because I don’t yet know how to address my future, it feels like it is all out of my hands. I hate that feeling.
I fear that this is a post without a strong central theme. Oh well. It is 100 degrees today and therefore too hot for themes. Rather than write a clear transition, I will just say that I’d like to leave you with this little link. It’s an interview with one of my favorite post-academics, Krista Scott-Dixon. She got a Ph.D. in Women’s Studies and is now a badass weight lifter and feminist, trans-aware fitness and nutrition coach. She is my inspiration any time I’m feeling overwhelmed or constrained by my options. I just heard this interview this week and while it is mostly fitness and nutrition based (and I love her approach to that), she has so much to say about expanding one’s horizons and taking small steps toward big changes.