This metaphorical tunnel is graduate school, and I am so happy to be a hop away from the end of this part of my life. When I was deep inside the tunnel, it felt like it would never end, that I would be stuck in science purgatory for eternity. But this summer, it’s been nothing but milestone accomplishments: I found a new job and finished my PhD. Later this month I will pack all my belongings into a moving truck, wave good-bye to them, and board a plane bound for Houston, Texas. From there, in exchange for a fistful of dollars, someone will drive me across the Texas landscape to College Station, where, at midnight or so on October 3, I will open the door to my new home, an empty apartment, and I will finally realize that the next story has begun.
It’s funny how it seems like everything happens all at once. John Lennon was right when he sang that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. The living and the planning and the dreaming and the scheming—they occur side by side, like inspiration and expiration. It’s all a big beautiful cycle of beginning and ending and beginning again.
I feel like September is a good month for a fresh start. The fall equinox, that day of perfect balance between light and dark, is just a few weeks away. After a summer devoted to seeking the light at the end of the tunnel, I think it is time to rest before I make a fresh start in Texas. I would like to bask in the light of these last few days of summer, with nothing more strenuous to do than making myself a glass of iced tea or holding a book in front of my nose. I want to play with my niece and cook with her parents. I need to walk around the nature preserve we visited two years ago so that I can see the flocks of birds as they prepare for autumn and the turning of the leaves.
I have decided to give myself the gift of silence this month. While I was in the thick of interviews and thesis-writing, it was important to me to keep writing my weekly blog posts, if for no other reason than to have a record of what it felt like to emerge, triumphant, from the long tunnel leading to my PhD. But this month, the need for rest is weighing on me heavily, like the suitcase I must pack tonight for a two-week stay in Michigan. By the time I return to Chicago, I’ll be itching to write again, ready to breathe new words into this little site. I hope you’ll meet me back here around September 28th or so when the conversation resumes.
For now, I wish you all a beautiful September and enough time to enjoy the season’s colors. I leave you with a view of the autumn canopy in my neighborhood. Be well, friends.