Picking Up the Pieces ... or, Change Happens
|Changing leaves, somewhere in the Berkshires|
There have been tons of changes around here in the last three weeks. As you read in my last post, Ed and I had to put down Pumpkin ... something neither one of us were prepared for and something that has left us gutted. We're back to one fuzzy kid and it's weird. We're definitely not going to rush into getting another dog any time soon, but I would be lying if I said we weren't talking about it. We've agreed to wait until I'm done with my MLS, settle into a job, and (hopefully) in a house of our own. For real this time. Moo has been quite content being the only kid again. She's even decided that my lap is the premiere spot for a good snuggle, something she's never done before.
And then there's my job. Yup, this week is my last week at Princeton. I know, I know ... my post in early September waxed on about how wonderful everything is and how much I love it, etc. However, the reality of juggling my classwork with that awful commute set in pretty quickly. Let's face it, I'm behind in my reading, I barely get my work done on time, and I'm exhausted to the point of tears. School is just too important to me to screw it up for a temporary, part-time gig -- a gig that isn't what I thought it would be when I first started. I'll leave it at that.
One thing that this job has taught me is that academia is academia no matter where in the university you work. Honestly, I want out of academia in all of its forms. I just don't have the patience or the personality for it. I love teaching undergrads, but I hate what full-time and tenure track brings with it. I'm just too damned sensitive to deal with all the criticism and bile. And, I'm not willing to sell my soul for tenure, either as a professor or as an academic librarian/archivist. I started to apply for part-time, archival internships (paid) and gigs in non-profits and public institutions. Hell, I even transformed my CV into a real resume -- a herculean task to be sure! I want to engage in my research on my own terms and in my own way. Who knows what all of this will bring!
A few days ago, it dawned on me that ten years ago my Pop died. I was studying for my 1st exam, an exam that qualified me to move forward in the program and propose my dissertation topic to the departmental committee. Ten years ago would be the first of the major endings and goodbyes in my life. Ten years ago would also be the first of the major battles I would have to wage in the name of my "career." This decade has been one of goodbyes as both of my parents, Ed's Dad, and Pumpkin have died. It has been one of moves, battles, victories, successes, and utter disappointment. These last ten years have taught me that getting what I think I want isn't always what I really need. It's been a decade of bitter endings as I say goodbye to a career that I thought I wanted ... a career that has defined me as a person for more than 20 years! And it has been a decade of burning it all to the ground and starting over. I'm tired. I'm devastated and lost ... but yet, I'm hopeful. I'm not in the best health, but I'm trying and that's all that matters.
I was recently told to be careful not to burn any bridges just in case ... sigh. No, I most definitely will burn bridges because I don't intend on going backwards. After all, I burn bridges to light my way.