Killing Time

I’m at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire, taking advantage of the free(!) wifi as I wait for my five-hour delayed flight to board. At this rate, I’ll probably get into BWI a little after midnight and will hopefully make it to bed at 1:30 a.m. or so. Score.

I was in New Hampshire this weekend to help my mom pull off the biggest surprise for my dad in my family’s history (as far as I know). It was his 60th birthday on Thursday, and we had a huge surprise reception for him on Saturday, with family and friends from all across the country. My mom had been planning this thing for months, and my dad had absolutely no idea. The event was catered at a local hotel, and we even had a DJ playing everything from 50’s swing music to 80’s rock ballads. It was quite satisfying to see the reaction on my dad’s face as he saw face after familiar face greet him.

Admittedly, the most interesting part of the evening for me was leading a toast to my dad after I showed a video slideshow of photos of him growing up (this was the other project I’ve been working on, in addition to my dissertation and work stuff). I got quite emotional — and speechless — as I recounted how it was an honor for me to have been able to get to know him more by doing the video slideshow project. That was probably most surprising to me, because I think it showed how much my relationship with my dad has grown over the past year. 

In any case, I’m looking forward to the upcoming week. First, I have my dissertation proposal defense on Friday. At this point, I’m really just looking forward to getting it over with. The sooner it’s over, the sooner I can collect data, the sooner I can write chapters 4 and 5, and the sooner I can graduate. That doctorate is getting so close I can almost taste it. 

Second, I’ve had yet another epiphany while I’ve been here in New Hampshire, away from work and thinking about my life priorities. It may not be a surprise to some of you, but I’m one of those people who pours himself into his work with reckless abandon. Unfortunately, the payback (personal fulfillment-wise and not money-wise) hasn’t been tremendously rewarding. Work has been a little hectic (to say the least) as of late. There have been lots of interesting — and frustrating — developments that have left me absolutely exhausted and broken work day after work day. Now, this is probably not abnormal for this time of the administration, and I’m betting that these circumstances aren’t dissimilar from what people deal with on a day to day basis in other fields. And honestly, If I were a different man, I might be able to sustain this kind of living for longer.

But I guess the epiphany for me is finally crying uncle and recognizing my limits. I’m not superman, after all, and the more that I stay in a situation that isn’t good for me mentally or emotionally, the unhappier I become. And let’s face it: Unhappy/Crabby Archie is horrible. We’ve all seen him and had dealings with him. He’s no fun at all.

And so, I’ve begun to actively look for other opportunities. That’s a pretty significant step for me, because I usually don’t know when it’s time to quit hammering the nail and try the hacksaw instead. (Huh?) It did cross my mind to just become a full-time student again, but I don’t think I could pull that off financially. (My diet has evolved a little bit to include more than just ramen.)

In any case, I may end up having more news in upcoming weeks. If anyone knows about any exciting opportunities, let me know. I’m open to pretty much anything. Except prostitution. Unless it comes with a 401k.

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