September 19, 2011

The end of summer

The fall quarter starts on Tuesday. I will be teaching for the first time in 18 months. I still don't really believe that I will be on that schedule again, setting the alarm every night. It has been so long since I had to be anywhere.

I won't be able to ignore graduate school just because I'm going through stuff. It has been a luxury, and maybe a curse too, that I have been able to just let myself go off the rails for days and weeks at a time.

That's over now. I have to learn to feel my stress and sadness without letting my emotions overwhelm my work day. I can't just choose to spend the whole afternoon dancing, walking, working it out at the gym. I can't spend the evenings drinking wine in the bathtub. I can't stay up until 3 a.m. every night.

I've been making progress on my dissertation. Today I wrote the entire introduction to a chapter, and I think it's a pretty good introduction. I just sat here on the couch, and I put on the loud music, and I let myself feel everything that is distracting me and stressing me out, and then I forced myself to start typing. That's how it has to be from now on.

Maybe it will be good to have structure again. Sometimes when I see people in work clothes, carrying their coffee to the train, I feel jealous that they have someplace to be. I think my problems will feel different when I'm dressed up and going somewhere. I won't just be an unshowered slacker in sweat pants, avoiding my dissertation and feeling like crap. I'll be a busy statistics instructor with a distressing personal life. It's a much better image.

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