Week of November 25, 2013:
Monday: Evening yoga
Tuesday: Treadmill run. 40 minutes total, 32 minutes running
Wednesday: Off (grocery shopping + date night with Paul)
Thursday: A Thanksgiving Day run! 40 minutes total, 30 minutes running
Friday: Long walk with friends (untimed)
Saturday: A photo walk by myself (also untimed)
Sunday: Long run! 62 minutes total, 47 minutes running.
Estimated mileage: 13.1 miles. Total minutes run/walked: 142.
Ah, Thanksgiving weekend! It’s always a much-needed break, isn’t it? Mine has been just about perfect. On Wednesday evening, Paul and I had our usual date night. Despite the temptation to buy nachos from Freebirds for dinner, we made a fried rice dish that was very, very tasty (definitely blog-worthy, if I ever have time to write the post). After dinner, it was 30 Rock and turning in early because we were both exhausted. In the morning, we made blueberry pancakes with my favorite pancake recipe (also blog-worthy and on the to-write list) and cooked some eggs to eat on the side. After breakfast and some relaxing, I nudged Paul out the door so I could go for a run in the sunshine. It was glorious! After six days of cold and rain, being outside was heavenly.
Post-run, I packed up and Paul and I headed to Houston to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends. Our friend Courtney made a Tex-Mex feast, and we ate tamales, Spanish rice, nachos, homemade salsas, latkes (to celebrate the first day of Hanukkah, of course), and pie. To wash all that down, we drank frozen margaritas. The conversation flowed effortlessly along with the wine, and I felt thankful to be in the company of so many dear friends. It was one of the best Thanksgivings of my life. Friendsgiving for the win(e)!
The next day, we lazed about and eventually wandered outside to take a walk. We met several gorgeous neighborhood cats, one of whom accompanied us on our walk for a while. (Paul later told my cat how I had tried to woo these other cats. Lucy was jealous for a moment, but she got over it. She knows that I love all the cats.) After our walk, Paul and I packed up and left Courtney’s, stopped for dinner at Fadi’s (a Houston treat for us), and drove to his sister’s house for an evening visit. His sister and her wife are always up for a visit, but they were sad that we didn’t spend the night. Next time…
We arrived home late and went straight to bed. The next day, after bowls of oatmeal gussied up with maple syrup and butter, Paul left and I was able to tackle some chores. I spent most of the afternoon organizing money stuff, which I know doesn’t sound fun, but it was a relief to get rent, bills, and receipts squared away. What can I say—order makes me happy! After that, I took a photo walk around the neighborhood and thought about my life. I had hoped that November would be a month during which I could slow down a bit, but that plan dissipated when I found out that I was being laid off from my job. It’s been a very emotional and stressful month for me, but I think I’m coming to some decisions about what I want to do next. The short answer is that I’m leaving the academic job sector and seeking my fortunes elsewhere. My heart feels peaceful about this decision. As Courtney said, the academic job market is like a black hole: once you’re inside, it can feel damn impossible to get out. And as Paul said, I’ve got to achieve escape velocity in order to flee the gravity well of academe. (You get rocket metaphors when you’re dating someone who worked for NASA, and that someone loaned you his copy of Pale Blue Dot.)
I’ve been on the fence about my immediate future for several weeks, but the more I think about not working in a lab, the more I believe that I must leave. I may come back to academe in a different position. But my heart isn’t in the lab any more, and I’m in a position right now where I can make a very intentional decision to work on other skill sets and learn more about myself as a professional.
With that decision on my mind, today I did chores, a little bit of work, and went for a late-afternoon long run. I had daylight but not much sunshine, which is okay with me during these dark autumn months. After my run, I tallied up my estimated miles run/walked for the month: a total of 32.8 miles. (I’m cheating a bit and counting today’s run in my estimate.) I had wanted to run 40 miles, but during this post-marathon month, I’ll take 32.8. Next month, I’ll try for 40 again!
It’s funny how you can be facing such big life decisions, and yet you still have the daily work of home and cooking and taking care of the cat and doing laundry. It’s comforting, I think, to feel connected to those rhythms during a time of turmoil. I hope to write more about my recent work experiences; I think sometimes I delay writing about stuff until I feel like I can say something coherent about it. My frustration with the academic sector is complex. It’s not something I can articulate easily in a blog post. Paul thinks I should write a book about it, and maybe I will, someday. Right now, my anger and sadness are too raw.
For now, I have one more full week of academic science ahead of me. Then I blast off into the great unknown beyond the ivory tower.
PS Completely unrelated: Lucy loves her outdoor time.