Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Bold Move

Saturday at Home

Last weekend, I took fate into my own hands.  I renewed my lease, thus declaring my intention to say in College Station until August 2014 or thereabouts.

Some of you may recall that I’ve been in a state of career limbo for over a year and a half now.  18 months is a long time to feel uncertain about your future—it gets old pretty fast.  The reason for this uncertainty has to do with the way that NIH funds projects and the way that my project in particular has unfolded.  Generally speaking, people get “new” funding for a project when that project is in its final stages before publication.  In other words, they get funding when the bulk of work is already done, which suggests to me that NIH’s funding mechanisms are very conservative: risky projects don’t get funding.  NIH seems to actively avoid risk, which means that researchers have to leap into risky projects without a net.  My project exists because I (and my boss) was (were) willing to take a big risk.  We absorbed the risk.  And we submitted grants for funding, two of which were rejected last year and a resubmission which is now in the system for review.  Without getting into the nitty-gritties about NIH grants, I’ll say that I am optimistic that we’re going to get funding this time.  That’s the first reason I renewed my lease.

The second reason is that my big goals this year are to finish two big projects: my first-author paper and the Detroit Marathon.  Those things are substantial, time-consuming projects, and I want to focus on my energy on them, not on moving and finding a new apartment.  Simplicity, friends.  I like simplicity.

The third reason is that I’ve grown very tired of not knowing certain basic things, like where I’ll be living in a year.  I am a planner by nature, and not having a plan, a basic outline of sorts, causes me a lot of stress and discomfort.  I thrive with structure and routines in my life; spontaneity is not my strength.  I don’t have every minute of every day planned in advance, but I have an idea of what the days will look like.  By renewing my lease, I have ensured some stability in my life, and it makes me feel better to be done with that decision.  Obviously, if the grant is not funded and I don’t stay in my current position, I will be job-hunting in order to pay the bills.  But I also recognize that if I’m no longer doing research full-time, that might enable to me to pursue teaching opportunities that could help me make the transition from research scientist to teaching scientist.  I’ll be trying to make that transition at some point in the future; I just don’t know when.

Finally, and this is perhaps the quietest reason, I want to start working on a new project.  Actually, I’m already working on it, and I’ll say more about it soon, but suffice to say that my plate is full this year—full of projects, optimism, and faith that things will work out.  I am making a bold move and pursuing the things that I want to do, intellectually, athletically, spiritually.  I need a home base for all my adventures, and my little apartment has definitely become home in the 3+ years since I moved into this space.

I suppose my bold move is more of a non-move, but it feels very empowering to say, “This is where I am staying.”  Plus I can start working on my patio garden soon because I know I’ll be here for the summer!

Finally, on a completely unrelated note, I picked up a bottle of this lovely stuff and can’t wait to fill my kitchen with a chocolate-and-mint-scented fog. 

Pure Peppermint Extract


Laurie said...

New projects. I've been considering a few myself. I can't put my finger on it, but something in your post makes me want to get beyond "considering" and on to "doing". Thank you for the inspiration. Good luck with all your projects.

Rosiecat24 said...

Aw, Laurie, I love that! Maybe your heart and mind and body are ready to feel engaged with something new. I'm actually a bit of a commitment-phobe myself; I do not jump into new projects or relationships easily. I stick a toe in the water, test the temperature, walk along the shoreline, look at the horizon--basically everything BUT start doing. Sometimes, though, sometimes you know you are ready. I feel ready. And if you do too, then go for it! And have fun :-)

Rosiecat24 said...

Interestingly, though, I just realized that my post is as much about staying committed to my current life (home, work, running) as it is about something new (my lease, my super-secret project). I like that juxtaposition of old and new. (Now I just need something borrowed and something blue!)

Unknown said...

Glad to see you are making plans :) Sending good vibes your way!!

Raquelita said...

Hurrah for making decisions that allow you to plan! My fingers are crossed for your NIH grant!

Rosiecat24 said...

Thanks, Shannon and Raquelita! I am feeling all your good vibes and good wishes. Happy Valentine's Day to both of you!