Tuesday, February 06, 2007


I've got a conference presentation in Europe in about three weeks. There are two more conferences I've had papers accepted to, coming up in May and June, though I haven't committed to attending those yet. I have a publisher waiting for fuller chapter summaries for my dissertation-to-book proposal, should I choose to respond. I have faculty job applications out, and perhaps a few more I could work up and send off, if I desire.

The strings that tie me are slack. In a way, the world is open to me. We have no mortgage. We own our vehicles. The only debt we have is what remains of our student loans. We've got enough money invested to pay them off as soon as we like (but our returns beat the interest rate, so we've kept the loans for now).

There is a part of me that wants to sell everything, my books first! A part of me that wants to run to the nearest exit. I don't need any of this. I really don't. That, I know. I just haven't quite gotten to the point where I don't want it. There's the clincher.

But I could, assuming my family is with me, just... go! Buy a boat, and float away. Not a terribly big boat, mind you. We haven't that much money. But... we could run away for a few months, maybe a year. Just disappear in Europe, or Africa, New Zealand, Thailand.

I want... I want a little pleasure. I want to shed this robe of torture that holds me, this hair shirt of my penance, for god-knows-what transgression. Just go!

I want to enter a place of peace, satisfaction, enjoyment. A nice fantasy it is. I look at the posters now adorning my office walls, sailing yachts, sea and sky. I breathe in. Breathe out

I think of the thin volume sitting on my table here, given me by my mother, wishing me all the best. Peace is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh. I read a page or two every now and again.

Let go! Breathe in. Breathe out. Water, ocean, wind, sails. I shudder.


Tracy said...

I know this feeling, AD!

I've had it before myself, although before I had a family. I remember thinking, "Gosh, I could just go to Europe, live in a small village in the Austrian Alps, perfect my German, and work in a bakery. I'd rent a little apartment in an ancient building, attend local festivals, and have a bike as my only transportation."

Sounds heavenly to me, even now when I feel relatively satisfied with my life.

Someday, AD, you won't have these feelings. Instead, you'll be tied down to a particular job doing a particular thing, and even if you absolutely LOVE it, you'll still be constrained by it. I know it's frustrating, but embrace your freedom. It is/will be fleeting, I assure you.

I am thinking of you, wishing you peace, and praying that people in your field (academic and not) realize what they've been passing up. Soon.

Lilian said...

Oh, Tracy had the most wonderful words to share with you and I'm glad for them!

I think she's right -- even after we have the job we want we may feel restricted and want this fantasy of pleasure, peace, and enjoyment.

It's a good thing I do feel at peace, well, except perhaps for the dissertation, that still looms above me...