With all the things I’m not getting done this summer, there is something that I have been doing. I found a post that, had it not been written over a year ago, I’d swear had been written by someone reading my mind:

…being outside of the time pressures of the typical semester can give you a much better sense of how you feel about things.

Take your research, for instance. Are you excited by it? Bored by it? Avoiding it? Are you getting things done, noodling around without making much progress, or putting it off[…]?

When you think about academia right now, how do you feel? Affection? Anger? Indifference? Excitement? Energy?

If you take the time to check in with yourself now, when you’ve had some time to decompress, you’ll get some really important clues — clues about what actually motivates and energizes you, clues about what drains you, clues about what you enjoy and what you merely tolerate. Figuring those things out will get you one step closer to figuring out how to adjust your life to maximize your own happiness.

(Read the whole post here. Julie is generally awesome and wise, so sit, stay awhile, poke around in the archives).

Yesterday I told a friend and coworker that I was back in Big Decision-making mode, this time from a calmer, more balanced place. His immediate response was “Yeah, but that’s just because you’re far away right now and you see an out.” I didn’t engage that idea in the moment, but later in the evening, it struck me just how odd of a statement it was.

Almost seven years ago, my then-stepmother and I took a girls-only trip to Puerto Rico. Within 48 hours of landing, she’d decided to divorce my father.

I moved to PR shortly after that, and lived there until starting my current program. Since leaving I’ve gone back 2-3 times a year. At no point on any of those trips has it crossed my mind to divorce my husband. (Not yet, anyway.)

The difference is that she already wanted and needed to get out of that relationship, but was unable to find the necessary headspace or resolve within her everyday context. The ‘out’ didn’t just rise up and convince her to make a move. She got closer to it by getting farther away from what was blocking her path.

It makes me wonder what would happen if we all got a little space once in a while.

(Aaaand now I understand why most people are allowed so few vacation days.)


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