Blog Bouncing and Other Adventures

Boy lately I’ve been having a go of it.

First of all, lately should be defined.  It is in fact July of 2015.  And the last post on here was October of last year.  That is not to save I’ve written nothing in that time.  No, I’ve started roughly 5 other blogs.  Of all different styles.  In some I’m trying to be funny.  In others I’m trying to be serious.  Or professional.  Or editorial.  Or just trying too hard at all of it.

I’m kinda having a little bit of a crisis.

It’s not a bad crisis.  It’s not an “I’m homeless and I have four kids,” crisis.  But it is sorta an identity crisis wrapped into a professional dilemma, wrapped into an early-onset mid-life crisis (determined early by the fact that I do fully believe I’m going to live well into at least my 90s, most of which will be time on some kind of paltry public assistance for seniors.  It’s a rough day when I realize the 2009 Kia Rio 5 I currently own might actually be the nicest car I will ever  own.  Ever.  Anyway, I digress…)

See, for the past 10 years (yes, 10) I’ve been working on my PhD in Sociology from Loyola.  (I feel like I explain this at least every two years so forgive me if I repeat. I have funny stories about people being like, “Yeah we know…and why is it TAKING so long.” They’re more funny in that, “Aw…don’t you just want to slap them” sorta way).  Anyway, that era has come and gone.  I defended my dissertation in September and for a rocky nine months I felt mostly normal but fatigued in a deep-gut way.  It was as though I had come home from some kind of intellectual war and my brain was full of analytical shrapnel.  And emotional scars.  Oh the scars.  I saved some money.  I consolidated my loans.  Things seemed to be pointing in “the right” direction. But who knew that when I walked in my graduation ceremony in May all hell would break loose.  I was mostly unprepared.

The question of the hour really was (and remains) “What does one do when they’ve run out of road as a student and have to grow up?”  I”m not even a millennial. I thought I had already answered this one.  I have been employed for six years at a regular jobs with open enrollment periods and discussion of the different between short-term and long-term disability options.  I’ve been comfortably throwing around $30 per bar night for years.  I’ve been considering getting a dog.  And a condo.  But then, I stopped being a student and things became not right.

Now, to be fair, there was a lot about the circumstances of my work that had never been right.  I think the ending of a massive project like a dissertation will lay bare all of the pock marks of life that you didn’t notice before because everything was such a blur. It will also expose completely the 20-pound ring of fat around your mid-section that was bequeathed to you by that same dissertation.  Always givers, those things.  And so I did what anyone in crisis already would do.  In the midst of my discomfort with everything, I left my job.  

It’s almost like I have a fear of not having something massive to worry about…so let’s create it.  Let’s be unemployed in one of the worst job markets in history.  That’ll keep you up at night.

Oh and it has. But even in my most stressed moments, that’s a cynical reading of what’s happened.  There is a time when a righting of the ship has to happen.  There is a time when you have to sit down with yourself and decide that it’s time to activate the reason you sought that PhD in the first place.  It’s time to start over and demand better for yourself.  Some way, some how that expertise cannot go to waste for whatever reasons you’ve allowed it to in the past.

It’s time to begin again.

This is, I’m sure, what caused the blog bouncing.  I’ve gotta find the *new* me.  Wrong. Beginning again can be so easy to mistake with starting anew. But I don’t think that’s what beginning again is.  It’s why none of those new blogs felt right and why the job didn’t feel right. There was a starkness, a feeling of foreign, with every one of them.  They were not me.  They were at sad attempt at me being secure and “normal.”  I wondered every day with those blogs, with that job, “Katie, why can’t you just be happy with this?” and every day felt more like I was being harnessed there, the straps cinching tighter and tighter.  I have a very personal relationship to my blogs. 

And then, almost by accident, I remembered this place…and every time I come here it feels a little like home.  I remember what I was doing and how I was feeling writing each of these posts.  It’s a continuum. It’s the Tent on the Journey that’s been open for years.  It’s seen the mountain and climbed the mountain and conquered the mountain.  And it’ll do it again before it’s put to rest.  

It’s all about continuity.  Keep the things you treasure.  Toss the rest.  And keep searching.  I’ll find it. But on the days I don’t, I have the Tent and it has me.  And, in this life, I’m pretty sure “it” will never been as conventional as deep in my heart I’d want it to be.  But I had conventional for  nine months and it wasn’t right.

Time to find the next mountain and start the climb.

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