I’m sad I missed this month’s Scientiae. I’m even more sad because I missed last month’s as well. I always think about writing and I have good intentions about writing but sometimes I don’t quite make it. I think part of the problem is that I feel like I have to write something particularly good or profound or both for carnival contribution. I know that’s not true, but that’s how I feel about it.
This month’s (or rather, February’s) theme was renewal. I confess that at first I didn’t think I could find something to write about on that topic. I didn’t feel particularly renewed. On the contrary, I felt terribly burned out. Notice the past tense. That’s because I’ve spent the last few days visiting my husband and I feel much, much better.
I’ve been working really hard in lab, lately. Long hours and weekends and really not doing too much except lab work and sleep and occasionally laundry and washing dishes (and one afternoon in which I couldn’t stomach the thought of going to lab and I watched lots and lots of Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis). That really wears you down after awhile. I know it’s what I’ve got to do in order to finish before I hit menopause, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I’ve been missing a lot of my usual comforts like knitting and reading blogs.
So, I was more than ready to head out to visit my husband in California. I can’t relax in Grad School City. Even if I take a day off, I mostly just sleep or try to clean. And, I have this nagging feeling like I should be in lab. So, in order to relax, I need to leave. I guess it’s good that I have an excuse to get the hell out of town every so often. And, when I do leave, I leave my work behind. I might read a paper or process an image on my computer while on the plane, but I don’t do any of that while I’m actually in California (actually, I spend a lot of time taking naps–I swear to you I get 8 or 9 hours of sleep every night but whenever I take a break and go somewhere I find that I’m exhausted and need to sleep).
People always ask me what my plans are for my time in California and I usually say, “Sit.” We don’t really make plans. This visit, we went out to dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day (our holiday schedule is a little screwed up), and I went to a bunch of fabric shops and today we went to the beach and wandered around. It’s pretty much been perfect. Maybe when I’m done with grad school I’ll be more interested in exploring, but for now what I need most is to not have to do anything. To have time that is completely unplanned and I don’t have to be anywhere at all and I can just do whatever I want to do.
Sometimes, I feel a little guilty that I leave lab for four days every 5 weeks or so (this is crazy-talk, I know, because most people in this world get two days off out of every seven, but I never claimed to be sane). But, I know that without this time spent away, eventually I would become useless in lab. I was already getting that way before I left (also, I was becoming something of a bitch; when you spend that many stressful hours with the same people day in and day out, it becomes more and more difficult to be nice, especially when they are idiots). So, if I want to make progress, I need a little renewal every now and then.