Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Leaving anxiety

I head to Scotland tomorrow. I'm excited about the conference. It's of the kind I like best: full schedule (three days) but no concurrent sessions. Focused. I finished my presentation today. Of course, I'll keep working on it a bit, and honing it. My run through took nearly 20 minutes, and it's supposed to be 15. But the slide show is done, and I'm ready to get on the plane (well, nearly, there's this little task of packing... but there's time). I'll be gone nearly a week. I'm anxious about that. I'll miss my boys. Some strange worries have surfaced that something might happen. Oddly, I'm not so worried about me. I'm more concerned for my beautiful boys. I'll be back in a week. I work hard to avoid making promises I can't or won't keep. So... I guess I'll have to come back, in one piece, in a week.

But, this marks a milestone of sorts for me. When I get back, I'm free to set my own schedule again. I have some goals, and some things yet undone. (I've got this book review for the [Field 2] journal that should have been submitted two weeks ago). But, it feels like this is really the end of the job season. I've got to plan for more than just the summer. I have to plan for next year, and beyond.

I'm pretty sure I'll hit the next academic job season with full effort. But then, things change. I'm tired of rejection, of failing to reach that bar. When I was a performer, I never went more than two or three (maybe occasionally four or five) auditions without a gig. It simply didn't happen. I never had the chance to feel down about the jobs I didn't get. But this! This is a roll beyond belief. Imagine a gambler who plugged his quarters into that machine once, twice, thrice... NINETY... ONE HUNDRED TIMES and... nothing! That's a lot of quarters. Sure, it only takes one job... but I ain't got one yet!

What a strange place to be. I am a scholar. I get excited about these little conferences, really, honest-to-goodness excited, eager, interested, and not about socializing, about rubbing shoulders with like-minded people, listening to their enthusiasm as they go on about research. This is what I live for. And... can I be me? Can I find a path for me to go on being the scholar I am? For now, I need to just keep plugging away, submitting articles, abstracts for conferences, conducting my research, reading, writing, drafting grant proposals, and hoping.

I want to be like the father in Potok's "In the Beginning," who suffered a great blow, fell into a deep depression, then emerged like a phoenix: success at last! I'll miss you all on my journey this week. Not sure if I'll have any access to the web while I'm gone. Meet you on the other side.

3 comments:

Propter Doc said...

Say 'Hello' to Scotland for me! Its home, not been back in 18 months and I miss it. Make sure you take your rain gear!

PD

ArticulateDad said...

Will do. Say "hello". Rain gear. Right. Thanks.

I think I'm good to go now. Just printing off back up slides for the PowerPoint presentation, just in case. And my notes. Don't want to wing this one with just a spare 15 minutes to say something pithy.

Lilian said...

I hope you have a good trip and a great conference.

I really like what you wrote, especially:
"I am a scholar. I get excited about these little conferences, really, honest-to-goodness excited, eager, interested, and not about socializing, about rubbing shoulders with like-minded people, listening to their enthusiasm as they go on about research. This is what I live for. And... can I be me? Can I find a path for me to go on being the scholar I am?"

This is me too - exactly, and I feel so sad just to think that maybe I just won't get to continue being a scholar after all. At least I'm really happy with being a mother and that I'll always be.