Doubts and Triumphs

The aftermath of my decision to defer my comprehensive exams until January (or September, they’re not sure yet) has brought alternating moments of relief and panic. I have experienced some bright moments and accomplishments that have assured me that I made the right choice to wait, and I have experienced some cloudier moments where doubt chokes me and makes me question my decision, and what this means in the grander scheme of things.

The moments of doubt generally come when I’m not busy and take a moment to breathe and center myself. I wonder why I’m resting, I wonder if I’m allowed to rest, I wonder if there’s something else I should be doing instead of resting. Hell, I wonder if anyone knows that I’m resting, and if I’m supposed to be filling my time doing things for other people. Resting feels sinful; not doing something ‘important’ makes me feel guilty. It’s all I can do to make myself sit and do something enjoyable.

I finally took down the Christmas tree today… uh, thirteen days after the twelfth day of Christmas? On the twenty-fifth day of Christmas, my true love took the boxes back into the attic for another eleven months of storage. Not so lyrical, but it means that the family room is back to its usual status. Yay, or something.

I’ve had some inquiries from people wanting to work with me for audiobooks; I’ve tried to catch up on outstanding work for current books and ‘casts. To be honest, I’m not completely sure as to what my schedule looks like before February 1st. Aside from finishing this one *amazing* book by Edward Lorn and published by Red Adept Publishing, I’m still trying to figure out where my time needs to go. Poor Jay Smith and Bryan Lincoln… I owe them lines. There are other podcast obligations, but just starting to type them makes me realize that I’m falling into the same trap again.

The moments where I know that I’ve made the right decision usually involve my kids. My eldest son, who is affectionately nicknamed ‘Bear’ for the purposes of telling stories online, spent two hours with me working on his science fair project and learning statistics. We talked about correlations and distributions, and how to compare the distribution of his sample to a normal distribution, and why that was important. We managed to get through the entire data analysis, and he’s got some questions to consider when it comes to his discussion for his project. He managed to come up with the changes and implications on his own, and he’s enthused about the project even after working on it for two hours. Having the time and energy and patience to work with him on that… that tells me that I made the right decision to set aside exams to refocus.

I did start typing up my notes that I’d handwritten while studying over my winter break. Typing them up forces me to reread and reorganize, which is something that I need to do often. Most of my study schedule is going to involve doing that; at the same time, the last thing that I need to do is fill all of my time with other new activities. I will still have academic work to do, and I will need to be disciplined to make this happen throughout the spring and summmer terms. As a writer, discipline isn’t an issue… but I’ll have to contain the urge to constantly be busy.

I already *am* busy. This year’s all about maintenance, remember? It would be detrimental to try and cram even more into the crazy box that is my life. I will likely have to tell people “no” and “wait” so that I can get my head on straight; I will have to explain my priorities to others. Those who don’t get it… well, they won’t. My health and my family are more important than any additional projects.

It’s all about the ups and downs. Things will settle down in the next few weeks, and I’ll manage to get back into a routine with writing up my notes and studying for comprehensive exams. SWC takes priority in writing, and I’ve got a list of recording projects to tackle one at a time. My goal is to make more time for myself, and to not feel guilty for doing so. I shouldn’t feel bad for saying “no, I can’t do that now” or “no, this will have to wait a few months” to others. If people are disappointed because I need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally… well, that’s how it will go. It won’t make me a lesser person because I’m acknowledging my limits.

At least, I don’t think so. This is one of those hard lessons to learn.

This entry was posted on Sunday, January 19th, 2014 at 10:17 pm and is filed under academics, PhD Ruminations. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Doubts and Triumphs”

  1. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    {quick hugs}

    I’ve been fighting mood swings myself, tho for an entirely different reason. They’ve reminded me exactly how rough those can be. {sympathetic smile}

    And we got our Christmas tree down yesterday (Saturday). {wink, Smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  2. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    By the way, are you still interested in how I found you and your blog? My initial reluctance to share was because if I go back less than 18 years, you get a pretty wrong impression about my likes and interests. If I go back 18 years to a non-misleading starting paint, most folks’ eyes glaze over as they stop listening. So that didn’t seem like an improvement. {Wry Smile}

    However, if you’re interested, I could explain. Then again, if 18 years sounds like more than you wanted to get into… that’s why I hesitated to tell you in the first place. {spread hands, lop-sided smile}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  3. Veronica Says:

    Most of my students right now are 18 years old, so it’s a quantifiable time frame for me. :) This “space” online has been mine for… goodness, more than a decade, and it’s gone through several iterations. It started as a Sailor Moon fanfiction site and I shifted it to this blog a few years ago.

    I’m always interested; people are awesomely fascinating creatures, and I do enjoy knowing how one person’s interests lead them to another, and another, and another. Go for it. ^_^

  4. Anne Elizabeth Baldwin Says:

    Okay, thanks. {Smile}

    Back in Fall 1995, I took Collection Development (an important topic in library science) over interactive television. The professor, faced with a class on five different islands where travel between islands is rare, was determined to use email to keep in touch with his students. Most students didn’t have an account or anything, but he arranged for each to get one thru the university. {Smile}

    I think I learned about Usenet in the latter part of that semester, when Dad and I took a few computer and internet related mini-courses. I quickly started checking out newsgroups. Neither Mom nor Dad were interested in Usenet. Dad still won’t go beyond email unless ordered to, or sent a clickable link in email, and Mom won’t do that much. {Smile}

    However, by the time I figured that out, I’d checked out several newsgroups that I thought they might be interested in. By far the most pleasant people to be around were in one or more Hawai’i-oriented groups that have since died, and one group – alt.books.m-lackey – dedicated to one of Mom’s favorite authors. So I could listen to people share with each other about horses and sports cars when they aren’t wandering off-topic in goodness knows which direction this time, or I could listen to people so busy saying their pieces about dragon hatchlings and assorted types of towers that many of them didn’t bother to listen to what anyone else has to say. Okay, I could live with the horses and the cars, especially when it also involved a hot spring party and one of the most creative “food fights” I’ve ever read. {GRIN}

    I’ve taken some hiatuses from that newsgroup, including one that lasted several years, but I always managed to stay in touch with several of the friends I made on it. And ML’s writing did grow on me over the years, tho she’s still more of an honorable mention than a favorite author of mine. {Smile}

    {pause} Relatively recently I lost two of those friends – the longest followed by one of the closest. They died less than a year apart: fall 2012, and summer 2013. After the second, I needed a major distraction. I needed something I wouldn’t feel guilty about without speaking up speaking up about it. SWC fit the bill surprisingly well; abml is more interested in ML’s bigger series. I found a lot to read and think about in places where I couldn’t be expected to respond to.

    I also found your blog. I liked it a lot. I was rather nervous about delurking because I’m really too hard of hearing to enjoy podcasts and audiobooks, and podcasts are obviously very important to you. However, it didn’t look like anything I couldn’t learn to nod intelligently about. {cross fingers hopefully} Besides, I’m a professor’s daughter and former grad student, so academia is a reassuring topic. Dad even got his doctorate in higher education, tho he primarily used it to teach biology, so educational theory isn’t unfamiliar. Also, while I’m not a core fan anywhere, I’ve been in the fringes of a lot more fandoms than just ML’s, and I’ve learned about far more while trying to keep up with assorted friends. So I hoped for the best and delurked. {Smile, display crossed fingers}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin