Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Thought

Here's the thing.

This right here is my life. For better or for worse, this is. Not that thing that I want my life to be--that isn't it right now, and maybe it won't ever be.

So maybe I need to stop trying to do something about my situation and try, instead, to do something with my situation. If that makes any sense. All of this is not to say--at all--that I'm resigned to living the rest of my life in exactly this way, and I'm certainly going to be working my ass off to get some more publications and whatnot so that I'll have more options down the line (two years on the market and I still believe that sheer hard work will give you options in academe--hope springs eternal, evidently).

Here's the thing: I've been so intensely focused on what I hope to be doing later--as in, years from now--that the reality of the present and the immediate future have been kind of frightening. In a way, I haven't let myself accept that I'm living here. Maybe that's just an inherent problem with the VAP thing: you can't--and shouldn't--commit to where you are, you spend the whole year trying to figure out what you'll do next (and where you'll do it), and all of your energy is focused on how to get yourself a new job. Ironically, then, landing a t-t job at the VAP school can be a little distressing. I've been completely focused on getting out of here, and now I'm staying here. (There are other issues, of course, but this is a big one.) I haven't really made any effort to settle in here because a) I didn't want to and b) I didn't think that there was any point.

But I've been having a pretty good weekend. I'm getting some work done (on the book manuscript!!!!) and thinking tentatively about doing something this summer that I've wanted to do for a really long time. I've also discovered the therapeutic value of helping a friend clean his basement, and I have dinner plans. In fact, I've been a lot more aggressive this week about scheduling social activities (even things like cleaning basements) than I have been all year, and have found that I sort of have friends here, in a way. (One of them, who was in my situation--a VAP applying for a t-t job--just got the offer and will be here next year, hooray!) The knowledge that my situation isn't going to change anytime soon is therefore a little less scary than it has been.

So: here's to reality. For now.

(I'm sorry that I'm being resorting so heavily to abstractions in these posts. I'm just not altogether comfortable being more concrete. Besides, most of you have probably figured out what the situation is; it's not like it's really that obscure!)


What Now? said...

So maybe I need to stop trying to do something about my situation and try, instead, to do something with my situation.

Wow -- this is a sentence that I will make note of and return to at various points, I'm sure. I think there are times to do something about one's situation, but most of the time doing something with it is the better call.

I'm glad things have gotten better this weekend.

dance said...

good resolutions! It *is* hard to invest in a VAP position--oddly, I suspect it's easier when there isn't a job to apply for and "investment" just means building a network, not looking for a job. You might still return to your original ideas a year from now, but then you'll know they are judgments you can trust, not tainted with the peculiarities of being a VAP on the market.

Sending positive energy your way!

medieval woman said...

Yay for feeling better, getting book manuscript work done, and cleaning basements!!!