Monday, October 21, 2013

Struggling with questions

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I've been struggling again, the last few days, about what to do with my life right now.

Gavin Aung Than over at Zen Pencils has illustrated part of a speech made by Bill Watterson.  I want you to take a moment to go read it before finishing the rest of this post.

I've been thinking over the past few years about how my ideal life would be something in which I could do something with science part time (actually lab rat research [love working with my hands at a bench], or translation into clinics, or working with STEM outreach for young people...) and be able to do my crafting/art part time.  I don't need *tons* of money.  I don't want the six figure (or near that) paychecks that could come with having a full time research position.  I can happily make do with a lot less than that.  It would mean sacrificing on some things - like having my dream home, etc - but it would be worthwhile in order to be happy and be able to spend lots of my time focusing on the things that matter to me.

I know this dream fluctuates some, depending on circumstances: for instance, I was thinking that I was willing to do a full time job in order to be able to support DeForest and give him good things in life.  I struggled with the idea that I would have to be the breadwinner in that relationship for a while, but I also wanted to be able to give him wonderful things, as he gave me wonderful things.  Being with him made me realize just how wonderful having a stay-at-home partner was.  Just him doing a couple hours every couple days - most of the grocery/goods shopping, the laundry, the dishes, cleaning the bathroom - made it so that when I came home, we could have fun together.  I did a lot of the cooking, but didn't have to do the dishes.  I swept a lot, tidied things, and occasionally vacuumed, but he did the scrubbing of the kitchen and bathroom when it was needed.  It worked out so great.  There's a part of me that would love to be that partner - that I could help support my person by doing some of the household chores, and making things for the family all the time, and making sure that people were happy.  I love making the people I love happy.

I get so many conflicting views on this from people.  Some people encourage me and say that it's completely possible, and I should work on following this.  Other people scoff and say "don't we all wish something like that?" and imply that I should grow up and live in the real world.  But I follow a lot of bloggers, and many of them are making a living by crafting and blogging, and I wonder if I could do that, too.  I wonder if there are part time positions for people who are highly trained in science and engineering.  I wonder at the idea of having a partner who would be happy to support me being happy, and then I wonder at the idea of putting part of my dream life on the idea of finding a partner who had the mix of steady paycheck and free time for me (I know they exist.  I know people in my life who have just 40 hour a week jobs that pay well and have flexibility).  I see comics and messages like the one above, and I want to shape my life to be the one I want.  My partner dies, and this is just solidifies - if life can be so short, I should live it doing the things I love and being with the people I love.  I understand buckling down for some periods of time and working hard to reach a goal - I worked my ass of in undergrad, the last two years of it very unhappily, too, to get meet my goals of having that degree.

Just... a lot of questions right now.  Grad school sucks sometimes - a lot of the time, right now.  Grief sucks the majority of the time.  Together... it's hard to figure out what the answers are, and what emotions are coming from what.  Maybe I do just need to take a break for a while, and things will start to make sense.  For a time, at least.  I do understand that these existential "what to do with my life" questions don't ever fully go away.  I'm hopefully meeting with a student advocate soon to chat about my options - a friend recommended her as being awesome and really supportive of all choices, including leaving if it's the right option for me.  I just don't know what's going on, and it's scary.

Maybe I'll go make a skirt or something now, to take my mind off of things.  First, food.  Need to eat today.  Food is good.  K.  Yep.  Getting up now.  Going to try and make today enjoyable, at least.  ~Kel

2 comments:

  1. I definitely think that you need to make time in your life to do the things that make you happy. Life is too short to live in the past or the future. I don't know what kind of engineer you are to suggest possible job options. I do know that it's possible to live on very little money, if the things that keep you going are inexpensive (boy, howdy do I know that!)

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    1. Thanks. My undergrad is in chemical engineering with a focus in biochemistry. I have a Master's in biomedical engineering, and I'm working on my PhD. My focuses are in the areas of tissue engineering and drug delivery.

      Most of the things that keep me going are not expensive in $$, though they are in time - as a fellow SCAdian and crafter, I'm sure you know what I mean. *grin* Plus, I am very privileged in that I have parents who have always loved that I do lots of arts, and they often purchase supplies for me for birthday and holidays. The biggest things would be to make sure I have the money for adequate rent and food. I'd rather not be counting pennies to make sure I can eat fruits and veggies, if I can help it. I live very comfortably on my graduate student stipend right now.

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