'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number--
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you--
Ye are many--they are few.'
---Percy Shelley, The Mask of Anarchy, final verse
I do indeed feel multiple at times. And I recognize the chains. But mostly, I think they're my own.
I'm thrilled for PhDme her latest news. But I can't say I'm not jealous. Indeed I am. I'm jealous of her success, and ProfessorMe's and ABDmom's, and.... but then, I'm not jealous in that I want their lives. Nor am I jealous in the sense that I wish any less upon them. We have all struggled in our way. The PhD is quite an accomplishment (even if it seems some are less than deserving of it).
And, these are my friends, though I've known them only a few months, though I know them mostly only through their blog personae. We have and do share quite a bit, and I celebrate their successes. But, I am jealous in the sense that I wish a bit more professional success for me. Rather, I wish the one success that has been for me most elusive, an offer of a faculty post. I have had other successes, but unfortunately have discounted them. When it comes down to it, (as WhatNow? recently observed while recovering from a bout of jealousy herself) my life is pretty darn good.
Attitude is many things. If I am bitter, nothing will quite satisfy me, even a faculty offer. And, I've come to recall that my wife has never told me that bitterness is one of the reasons she loves me.
No, that's never been among the qualities she lists. That I make her laugh has often topped the tally. She enjoys that I am a fine cook. She is inspired by my ideas, that I get so excited by them. She relishes the moments when my pitch heightens, as I explain some project I want to work on. She enjoys my magic hands that seem to know just when and where she needs a caress or massage.
We are partners. We listen to each other. We are mirrors, reflecting each other's strengths, and fears. So what if I mooch a bit off of her employer's generosity, off of her talents and skills, that just at this moment happen to be far more usable and lucrative than my own?
Come to think of it, I've never heard her say she loves me for being rich, or for the ease with which she always knew I'd land that faculty post. No, she's as much to blame for encouraging me on this path. She's the one who's ever noted that twinkle in my eye as I attempt cross-disciplinary connections that perhaps were never meant to be (but which I will, to my dying day, insist must be made).
For those things, she loves me. And for all her talents, and her smile, and her laugh (that I am adept at raising)... for her magic hands (and the way she and I can crack up together over the most inane disturbance to a romantic moment that ever was), because she is caring, and giving, and loving, and supportive, I love her... for these reasons, we are together (even if she tried to run me over on my bicycle those 12 years ago).
Thanks to all of you who have recently written paeans to your loves and children. I'm with you there. It's good to remember the important things in life. I'm remembering, too.