Acade(me)

The dissertation was only the beginning.

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Quote of the Day
Monday, April 17, 2006
Tension
My hands shake a little. My mind races. My heart thumps more quickly than usual. I try to take a deep breath and, although my lungs fill with fresh air, I don't feel refreshed. I have this nagging feeling like I'm forgetting to do something, even when the items on my "to do" list are all crossed off.

Since about Wednesday, this is how I've been feeling -- not all the time, but enough that I'm concerned about it. Even when I'm enjoying myself -- time at the park in the lovely sunshine, playing or chatting with ST, spending time with T, preparing Easter dinner -- I cannot get rid of this feeling of tension, the little fluttering in my stomach that tells me something is amiss, something is undone. I'm eating well, getting exercise (ran two miles again on Saturday and will go again this afternoon), drinking a lot of water, progressing on the dissertation, am almost caught-up with the weekend's laundry (sans ST's wet bedsheets, currently in the dryer), and am generally pretty happy. But still, my body is telling me that something has to give.

I know part of what I'm feeling is sympathetic tension for T. It's been a very busy few weeks for him at work and he's been stressed, and the job search in New Town is only plodding, plodding along. He's still sure that he'll find a good job in the next few months, but it's not going to be easy (for various reasons, all too situation-specific to reveal here). Because of what's going on in his life, we haven't been able to do much about our impending move to New Town; indeed, the stress in his life has put a lot of our immediate-future plans on hold. So I know that part of my feeling of tension is from him, from taking on too many of the stresses that only he can resolve.

ST is also making me a bit tense, as he seems to be a ticking time-bomb lately. He's such a happy-go-lucky kid most of the time, but then all of a sudden he just explodes with frustration. Mornings have been especially rough lately. In the past two weeks he has decided that he hates getting his clothes on, hates brushing his teeeth, and hates having his face washed. Every morning is a battle royale, complete with ear-piercing screeches, mule-like stubborness, spitting, slapping... it's terrible. This goes on until he's ready, after which he magically transforms back into a delightful little boy. But the morning battles affect me long after they're over; it's already been two hours and I still feel annoyed by the whole thing.

And the house, of course, is a latent source of stress for me. We have a good offer on it (for our full asking price), as you know, but that offer comes with the contingency that our buyers sell their house first. Their house hasn't sold yet, and although it's only been on the market for two weeks, I just want it to sell so we can consider ours sold. Because of the contingencies, we have a "For Sale By Owner" sign in our yard, and I'm already sick of having people slowly drive by our house, peer in the windows, and tromp around the yard (thinking no one's home). In fact, a van is outside our house right now -- been there for five minutes already -- and the driver is standing in my yard. I appreciate the interest in our house, but I feel a bit like I'm in a zoo.

And it goes without saying that the dissertation is a source of tension. I feel it. But I also know that it's almost over. I need to make good progress on this final case study this week, and then I think the dissertation tension will be substantially reduced.

So today I am going to put on some good, relaxing music (I'm thinking Vaughn Williams, Ravel, or Malcolm Arnold) and get to work. I need to push this tension aside so it doesn't paralyze me.
Posted with care by Prof. Me @ 4/17/2006 10:24:00 AM  
5 Words of Wisdom:
  • At 11:47 AM, Blogger BrightStar said…

    I'm all for the relaxing music idea. What about some nice smelling candles, too?

    It does sound like a lot to deal with, so be good to yourself if stress arises. It's the situation, not you. I admire you for fully entering into it, but also trying to rise above it.

     
  • At 12:31 PM, Blogger Lilian said…

    Oh, that feels very tough. The tantruming toddler alone is a huge factor, I think, once in a while I feel like I'm going to go beserk when the boys start acting up. I hope this "cloud" of tension lifts up soon from your life.

     
  • At 2:36 PM, Blogger phd me said…

    I'm sorry things have been so rough lately! Right when you need to concentrate on the diss, you're being pulled in so many different stressful directions. Definitely, do whatever it takes to reduce the stress - music, candles, tasty meal, screaming into a pillow...

     
  • At 5:13 PM, Blogger Dr. Mon said…

    Hope you've had some space and time today to unwind a bit more. I'm thinkin bout ya!

     
  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger Peri said…

    How could you not be affected by all of this? Any ONE of these issues is a lot to take on and you're dealing with ALL of them. Yikes!

    I hope you can find some time to laugh over the next few days. Perhaps ST will provide some needed comic relief. Hang in there with him. I sympathize!

     
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