I feel like I've been down lately. It's hard to get excited about things, hard to feel motivated. I'm a jellyfish floating on the waves. Blogging seems to be good therapy for me, but lately it seems that we're all getting down. Is it the season, the return from a break, what? I look on other blogs for a bit of inspiration, a modicum of solace. But we're all down in the dumps.
The more I say I won't obsess about this job search, the more I do obsess. And the news I get is mostly bad. "Sorry to say, you're not on our short list." Sure, there are many places which have yet to formulate theirs. Yes, several places have indicated that to me. But some have, and I'm not on them. The odds are getting slimmer each day. What will I do if I go through an entire second year of job searching with nothing?
My wife was asking me if I felt I should start looking for something else to do during the day, as in find some work, any work, to occupy me. Especially since I'm having difficulty finding the drive to get much writing done. What, I asked? I don't see myself finishing the dissertation then taking what I consider an undergrad's summer job. I've waited tables. I've worked in bookstores. I've gardened for a living. Is that what this is coming to? (I'm sorry to drag it down, but I need to vent.)
No, I believe in a world where knowledge, and learning, and inquiry are valued for their own sakes. I don't think we should bury our heads in the sand. But I firmly beleive that expanding our understanding of the world, and ourselves is a fundamental task of humanity, and part of our obligation to this life. I was raised to answer the question: "why are we here?" with a very direct and simple: "to leave the world a better place for our having lived." In part that means doing what we do best as well as we can. For me, that best is thinking about certain things, and making connections and linkages, drawing things together.
I'm a synthesizer more than an analyzer. I like to have five things going at once, so I can chance upon some connection that would otherwise elude me. And you know, I do feel that what I do is worthwhile. I believe the questions I ask are interesting, and that they will ultimately lead us to a greater understanding of some part of our world and our experience of it. But, what do I do with that if I can't get a job, that I ask. And I dwell in the peace that this too shall pass, that this feeling of despair that currently overwhelms me will fade, and some part of me will emerge from the conflagration of it, and lift the rest of me out of it. That's my only hope.