I'm starting to feel a sort of fundamental tension in my shoulders and I think it is because I only have one summer and one more Fall semester before they kick me out of grad school. This spring I am defending my thesis with the rest of my cohort, but thanks to the fantastic dual degree option that my school has, I will be here one extra semester. And... then what? I imagine the following options:
- Apply to PhDs in the Fall. If I get in, sign up for 5 more years of GA-sized paychecks and Instructor-of-record-sized workloads.
- Apply for internships/residencies/fellowships and try to get funded to finish my book (not yet started) outside of Academia.
- Move somewhere with a Whole Foods, try to get part-time-plus work from them and move heaven and hell to finish my book (not yet started).
- Move somewhere without a Whole Foods and get some other decently paying part-time-plus job and etc etc.
- Move to South America to teach English for a year in a village without Internet. (Also known as the "fuckitol" protocol.)
- Apply for college-level teaching jobs (this is the second most least likely to happen, as I have only taught First Year Comp. at this point and can think of few full-time employment fates worse than a full course load of FYC).
- Grow up and get a real job with a desk and a 401k and a water cooler and TPS reports because I'm not cut out for a lifetime of rejection and blood-letting. Hahahaha. Just kidding--I've already lived a half-life of rejection and blood-letting, another will feel like home.
Yesterday I told one of my cohort, "I've already lost a career and a house," and a husband and a dozen other relationships, both good and bad, romantic and not, I thought. "It's all uphill from here." Which is mostly true. What is definitely true is that I know for sure that life choices AREN'T forever. Everything is up for grabs every day, no matter how real and for the rest of your life it feels.
But that doesn't mean that you don't still have to make choices. That I don't still have to make choices. And that also doesn't mean that I can't make a wrong choice that fucks a couple of years up before it works out. The older I get, the more important each year seems--and I don't want to blow one or two on dead ends. This year is officially a ticking clock, and it's already half-past two. Something will need to happen at midnight.
In the past, I have let others decide for me--boyfriends or adcomms or IT directors. And this time, I know that I am going to do the choosing. But I also know that it will be a shitty year if I spend the whole thing living imaginary next years. But I am a pragmatic dreamer and a compulsive planner. Which is why the shoulders-thing.
For now I am going to try try try to live in the next few (hours) months. I'll focus on funding the summer and fall, finishing my thesis, and finding a way to get some better exercise than I have been. I know this over-thinking shit is most likely to occur when I have not run/hiked/stretched off all my extra energy.