I haven't been doing much lately --- I don't know where the weekend went, either, but I did no work and didn't venture outside, either --- really I've had no energy to do anything at all, not fun and exciting relaxing summer type stuff or Highly Important academic research type stuff. I feel like there's nothing to do.
I've been doing a lot of sitting around, but really that hasn't been very pleasurable. I feel rather purposeless.
It might be just part of summer in general --- I had a rough patch right at the beginning of summer but then settled into a routine that involved both writing and seeing people --- or it might be that being unemployed is wearing on me. You'd think that having enough money set aside to focus on your writing for a little while before you need to get a job again would be relaxing and freeing. You'd be wrong.
My family was giving me shit for a while there, what with Countdowns to Productivity on every phone call and the repeated questioning of how soon the money would run out before I need a job functioning as nagging to go out and get one early, despite their claims otherwise. I found I felt much better just not contacting them right now; I don't need to hear it. And I don't need to spend hours and hours of my day poring over the want ads but then not applying for anything each time I hang up the phone with them, so I'm avoiding them. Really, I got a lot more work done and was a lot happier as soon as I did.
But now I've slipped back into doing nothing, floating through my days. Call me an unspontaneous killjoy, as roommates have in the past, but I need a pretty structured schedule.
The problem isn't that I have nothing to do but that I have an immense list of things to do and no real structure or deadline for doing them, other than "check the MLA list when it comes back up for fall." I have a lot of stuff that needs to be done before that checkpoint but really I've run out of the energy to shepherd myself through it and put in the daily effort to get all the bits together now with an empty schedule that opens up like an abyss --- no one to see any particular day, nothing to hand over to anyone, nobody to care whether this stuff gets written or revised or sent out or whatever.
See that blurry box up in the top corner of the picture there? That's the infamous bag of tools that the astronaut let get away out on spacewalk a while back. That soooo would be me, if I were up there. Or even if I were me down here.
Anyways, I feel like there's not really much point in anything right now, and then I feel bad for wasting valuable time that I don't have to work a shit job in --- you could say I have funded my own fellowship, as it were. Nobody else ever seems to give 'em to me. The problem is feeling guilty for not having written anything does not actually help to make you start writing things.
It doesn't help that I feel like the past year never happened and that I am still a grad student --- who the hell sits around and mopes rather than going to work anyway? If she had finished she would be frantically packing and prepping to move, to go off to her postdoc or job. If she filed and had no job, where is her alternate career and why isn't she punching a clock in an office somewhere?
When I go on campus everyone asks me how the dissertation is going. I've had multiple friends on facebook cheer me on that I will soon be able to think about filing. My advisor asked me if I would be done in time for the market this year or will she have to fudge her letters.
People, I filed the dissertation almost exactly a year ago. You are not helping me feel like I have accomplished anything or am getting anywhere.
I think I once wrote asking for advice about whether it is better to plan the end of grad school around a trial run or a gap year on the market. I now find the whole question laughable, as I did two or three trial runs, depending on how you count them, did a postdoc, and now am embarking on a true gap of a "gap year." As in, the CA community colleges and UCs are simply going to not let people enroll instead of offer people like me the possibility to adjunct. As in, I overheard three people in the coffee shop trying to get application forms. Turns out they are certified teachers laid off from the district. As in, the temp employment agencies in the area all have "for lease" signs in their empty windows. As in, it may be years before I hear back about any of these articles I have sent out into outer space, far too late to affect the job search.
Sigh. Yeah, I think the cat picture worked better.