Thursday, March 28, 2013

Don’t Look Back

Heading West into Texas

Hey, friends!  I thought we could sit down and have a chat.  I’m even drinking coffee right now—are you?  (Mine is a decaf Sumatra bean from Starbucks, French-pressed to perfection.  I am not a French press evangelist, but I do enjoy the sheer simplicity of that little contraption.  Brew, press, pour, and ta-da!  Fresh coffee, ready to go.)

I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll just start big and say that life is so, so good right now.  I’m falling in love, and it feels awesome.  I think a younger version of me would have been afraid to say something like that so boldly, in public.  But having been in love before, I know what it feels like and I’m not afraid to slap a label on it.  Experience brings with it wisdom—that’s one of the gifts that comes with getting older.  And I have had enough experience dating people who were wrong for me to say that my new guy is a good one.  He’s Mr. Right Now, but I’m hoping he’ll stick around because I really like hanging out with him.  Do you know what I love most about him?  He makes me laugh and that’s my very favorite thing.  We just have so much fun together, and it’s wonderful.

I haven’t yet explained to him that by dating me, he is going to end up as a subject on this blog.  And until I do that, I don’t feel right about saying too much about him, though as you might imagine I am dying to tell you what we’ve been cooking together.  It’s been a delicious few weeks, I can tell you that much.  But once I’ve had the chat with him about dating a blogger who writes a personal blog, maybe I can tell you his name.  I think he’d be a touch offended that I called him Mr. Right Now, but I am so happy right now that it seems right.  It’s hard for me to worry too much about the future.  I just want to enjoy him.

That being said, I am working on future plans.  I have decided not to apply for a second postdoc position (which I can tell you more about, if anyone is interested*).  I’ve started working on a new secret project (which I will tell you about soon, I promise), and I’m applying for freelance science editing jobs.  Perhaps that comes not as a surprise to you, considering that I write two blogs and have a deep love for language and ideas.  And to be honest, the freedom that may come with freelancing is really appealing to me right now.  I have been so wedded to my job for the last 3.5 years that freedom is what I want next.  Or perhaps more accurately, some free time.  Along those lines, I’m starting to make my summer travel plans.  I’ll be heading up to Michigan for about two weeks for a friend’s wedding and to see my family.  After that, I’m trying to convince Mr. Right Now that we should head west to Colorado to see mountains and enjoy each other’s company.  Money might be kinda tight for us, since I may be unemployed and he doesn’t work in the summer, but if we road-trip our way over to Colorado and do some scheming to find reasonably priced lodging, then I think it could work.  Honestly, if I’m unemployed, I want to really enjoy some of that time free from work obligations.  Between grad school and my postdoc, I have spent the better part of ten years married to research labs and my long-term projects.  I’ve also lived pretty frugally, and I am happy to squander some of that frugality on a trip to remember.  Also: mountains.  That’s all I really need to say.

So all is well here.  After surviving the hell that was 2012, I did not dare to dream of such big things for 2013—new love, new jobs, new travels, new chances at happiness.  I keep thinking about what my boss said when he told me that our grant would not be funded: “Don’t look back.”  There’s no way I would be so calm about things had I not mentally prepared for the worst: that I would lose my job.  This month I’ve been able to get a grip on the reality of my situation: one door is closing.  One particular chapter in my work life is ending.  And that means I get to look forward to writing the next chapter, on fresh paper with new pens.  I am excited.  

* Is anyone interested in this?  I’ve been thinking about writing a post on this topic.  I am sure if I title my post “Why I am not Doing a Second Postdoc,” I will get a boatload of Google hits.  And I’m not sure how I feel about that!  In my blog stats, I saw someone did a search for “rebellious postdoc” and landed at this post.  Am I rebellious?  I don’t even know how to answer that question.


Chrissy (The New Me) said...

I must confess - I got teary as I read this. I'm so glad that 2013 is treating you right - I've been rooting for your happiness! And I just love your attitude about all these life changes. You're the best! (And I can't wait to hear more about Mr. Right Now, when he's ready!)

Laurie said...

Why yes, I do have a coffe in my hand. Aero press rather than French press. Geek toys

Why yes, I would like to read more about second post doc choices, but only if you are comfortable sharing.

Yes! So pleased to here that 2013 is treating you so well. Can't wait to " meet" Mr. Right Now.

Laurie said...

Hear! I meant "hear"! I've been making similar mistakes all week. Gargh!

Rosiecat said...

Aw, Chrissy! YOU are the best. I admit that I'm one of those annoying people who thinks that life is 90% attitude and 10% everything else. Your attitude will influence just about everyone you encounter, and that in turn will open or close doors for you. So while I wouldn't call myself a faker for being so aware of my attitude, I do strive to let my best self be my daily self, rather than letting my grumpy moods or disappointments rule my day.

Ah, Laurie, an aero press? I don't even know what that is--I will have to look it up! And yes, I think I will write about my decision to leave the postdoc track. I think there's a way to do it respectfully but honestly. My fear, as a writer, is that I will have to choose between those two things. And the truth is that the state of academic science is not good because of the funding issues. After all, I'm leaving my current position ONLY because the money won't be there to support me soon. I love my project and my lab, so there's a real part of me that is grieving about the end of this job.

(Hear here!) ;-)

I think I'm excited to see what Mr. Right Now's reaction is to his blog name. I sort of hate the label "boyfriend" and gag a bit whenever I hear it. I haven't dated "boys" since I was 17; I've dated men. But "man-friend" just sounds funny to me! Gah, what to do?

Laurie said...

My cousin uses the term "manpanion". I laugh every time.

Raquelita said...

I'm so happy to read that you are so happy! I hope the person in question has no problems with dating a blogger and you can soon tell us more about the delicious things you've been cooking and so forth.

I love the attitude you have about your decision. Recently my spouse decided to pass up an opportunity to get back into the academic game - in part because the position was really not ideal, as it was a non t-t position with a heavy teaching load, but in part I think because he is enjoying what he is doing now. I think there's something appealing to not worrying about research or grading or tenure all the time.

Shannon Grande said...

Love the outlook, it sounds like you're taking this change in plans and making the most of it. Yay :). You can always go camping! Just make sure you have warm enough gear. . Was in Estes Park (outside Rocky Mtn park) one June/July and it totally snowed. My sleeping bag from grade school did not cut it!

Rosiecat said...

Laurie, that's fantastic. Manpanion! I think I've just accepted that there is no good, short name for the person you are dating. Except his real name, in this case.

Me too, Raquelita. We shall see what Mr. Right Now thinks of my blogging gig. As for academic gigs, I can completely understand M's decision. Tenure-track positions are both the holy grail and the prison of academic employment: much sought-after but they can make a person feel trapped. I think it is not easy to find peace with our line of work--you have to work at it to cultivate a healthy mindset and healthy routines.

Oh, Shannon. You had to go and mention camping. That would probably be Mr. Right Now's first choice, but I like beds and indoor plumbing. So we'll see :-) Thanks for your encouraging words, my dear!