Exactly two weeks from today, if all goes as planned, I should be pulling a 16′ moving truck away from the house where I’ve lived for the last two and a half years and making the two-day trip down south to begin to inhabit my other life full time. ‘Other’ is about as good as I can do here–it’s tempting to call it my ‘real’ life, but that gives short shrift to what I’ve been doing up here. Life in both places has been pretty equally real, personal, professional, and incomplete.
I’m usually pretty (very) anti-Disney, but when I think of how anemic and circumscribed my life has been in the past couple of years, this is the image that comes to mind. Remember those sad little mermaid souls? Yeah, that.* There was a time in the not-too-distant past when I was a much happier, more at-ease person, with a much more robust life and sense of self. And while I recognize that the hollowing out of lives and souls is one of the things grad school does best, I’m just fundamentally not okay with it.
So now I have the opportunity to make a change, and I hope I’m up for the challenge. I know I’m supposed to be excited, and in some ways I am, but right now I’m more freaked out. I’m worried about starting over again in a place where my husband is the only person I know, especially since the plan is for me to be working from home for the next year and a half (!?), which means no meeting people through work. I work from home a lot here, but I’ve always had regular meetings and other obligations, and the option of going into the office if I’m feeling stir-crazy. The mental health implications of being home all the time scare me**. I’m worried about what my reaction to the upheaval of the move away from my university community is going to be, and how it will interact with (i.e., make worse) the transition into permanent co-habitation. In the end I know it will be different, and I’m sure I can make it better than these years have been, but man, does it suck to know that there are gonna be some bumps in the road before we get there.
(None of this is at all, let alone completely, different. Yet. Oops.)
*Yes, this would make me my own Ursula.
**The most sensible thing would be to go out and get a job, but for the next 6 months I’ll be in the odd position of being away, but not unattached. Next semester I’ve got an ongoing research assistantship, two conferences, and two trips back to the university (one lasting several weeks). Following that I could indeed work, assuming I do not get/accept a diss writing fellowship that would disallow outside employment. My own Ursula, indeed.