Thursday, November 08, 2007

An Attempt at a Real Post

Things have been pretty crazy on this end, even for a person who calls herself "Dr. Crazy." In part it's the work craziness. I've got a lot I'm trying to manage right now in terms of work. The grading is totally overwhelming; I've had student advising (and, because being good at something ultimately results in more work, I've added five advisees to my roster because students requested me specially, and flattery will get a person everywhere with me); I've got the book; I've begun on the MLA paper (which reminds me that I really need to register for MLA and get my plane ticket; it also reminds me that those of you who will be attending MLA should drop a note in the comments so that we can begin figuring out a potential meet-up, and yes, I know it's early, but as I look forward to my MLA I realize that I'd better get the meet-up talks going now or I'll be organizing a meet-up that I won't be able to attend because already the calendar is filling up). So yes, all of that is stressful, and overwhelming, and it makes me for a lame blogger because I really have been focused on work as opposed to doing work and using the blog as a valve through which to let off steam or to satisfy the necessary impulse to procrastinate.

Things have also been kind of crazy personally, in ways that are totally... surprising... and also overwhelming in their own (positive, I think) way. I don't know how to talk about this portion of things on the blog, and I'm not sure I'd want to with any kind of specificity even if I were sure of how to do so. I suppose I gesture in the direction of talking about it because I've been thinking a lot about lately is that I've been struggling so hard for months and years to feel balance between my personal shit and my professional shit, and I've never been able to manage it. I would give short shrift to one or the other; I'd be involved in personal life nonsense that was ultimately easy to contain and had little chance of ever interfering with the professional, or I'd throw myself over to an infatuation that would take me away from work for a brief period, only to flame out as quickly as it began, thus returning me to the work. What is happening now... well, neither of those patterns seems to be in play. That's not to say that there isn't some infatuation involved, nor is it to say that everything is just perfect and I've finally figured out the recipe. No, not at all. Indeed, you may find me posting here next week and telling you, "Woops! It was the whole infatuation thing after all! My bad!" But, for whatever constellation of reasons, this doesn't seem to be the direction in which I'm heading this time, and I'm certainly not heading in the direction of the carefully contained thing.

I suppose the thing I'm thinking about is this: to what extent is finding balance not a matter of what we choose or decide, but rather something much more ephemeral, something that depends as much on chance and timing as it does on plans and actions intended to put one in a certain position? To what extent is "balance" not something we will someday "find" or that we "achieve," but rather something that just happens? And if that's true, perhaps there's no point in stressing out about it. Because at least for the past couple of weeks, I've been pretty much in balance. And through no fault of my own.

14 comments:

Anastasia said...

I think it comes and it goes.

I'm not really a big fan of the "achieving" or "maintaining" balance language myself, so I'm in favor of rethinking those ways of talking.

wow, I have nothing else to say.

Flavia said...

I'll be at MLA! Which I think you already knew, but I'm so looking forward to it, too, that I thought I'd pop by to remind.

My panel is, unfortunately, on *the very last day*, so I might be least fun on the night-before-the-last-day, but whatever works. Looking forward!

Sisyphus said...

I'm keeping fingers crossed for your balance and exciting developments.

And I'll be at MLA too, but won't know any scheduling details until much later, if at all. On the other hand, if I have no interviews, I'll have plenty of time to drown my sorrows at the bar.

Andrea Ann said...

I think balance should also be thought of diachronically. Is life balanced on the whole - meaning some months or years of your life are focused more on professional other years on personal but over the course of your life, there is balance.

Maude Lebowski said...

i'm about balance as it relates to me as a whole person--not a balance between or among things, but not to wax too new agey, a balance between body, mind, and spirit. for me, this simply means managing stress (easier said than done) and taking care of myself--exercising, eating right, even cleaning the house, and a sense of feeling grounded in a purpose (like finishing the diss, applying for jobs, etc.). i have found that when i'm more aware of these things on a personal level--as in simply paying attention to my Self--the balance of things around me falls into place--romantic vs. academic--and if they don't, then you at least are in a better place to handle it.

that being said, i do think all the external things are by chance. i met my current boyfriend over the internet by a pure fluke. i couldn't have found him if i were looking for him. all the "looking" i did made me much more miserable until i just kind of let go (again, easier said than done).

and, if you're still reading this long ass comment (sorry), i, too, will be at MLA, though like sisyphus won't know anything until mid-december, and if i don't get any interviews either, then i will seek her out at the bar and join her in drowning sorrows in copious amounts of liquor.

Dr. Crazy said...

Just a quick note to you job-hunting MLAers who claim that you don't know your schedules....

Most interviews happen on the two middle days; they generally don't happen before 8 AM and they're generally over by 6. Obviously, there could be some unusual thing that would happen, but with that being the case, dude, you must make a social schedule without worrying too much about the interview schedule! MLA is about the socializing, people! Sure, it's stressful and weird and filled with angst, but there's also the socializing! Socializing, I say!

(Who knows when exactly we'll do the meet-up, but it will probably be an evening-ish sort of thing, as we did last year, unless people have objections to that, and once I get a tally of who shall be participating, then we'll start an email list and go from there :) )

Fretful Porpentine said...

Ooh, I'll be at the MLA, too. Grad department will probably be having some sort of party that I'd like to attend, but I'd definitely be up for a blogger meetup if it doesn't conflict.

k8 said...

I'll be at MLA - interviewing, hopefully. Scheduling aside, the waiting is just absolutely nerve-wracking.

adjunct whore said...

i want to meet up!! like flavia, my panel is on the final day, but i can certainly meet and not get wasted.

so please inform!

and finally: it sounds exciting, dr. c. the "it" that is not quite identified but sounds a lot like something good, real, and potentially life changing, whether that be your perspective or something other.

Anastasia said...

booo now I"m jealous there's no blogger meetup (that I know about..) at my conference.

Earnest English said...

Balance -- I'm all for it. But for me it's more like juggling balls in the air. So balance for me is more attainable big-picture wise (over a semester, let's say) rather than a week by week basis, sadly.

I'm all about the blogger meet-up at MLA. With interviews or without, I'll be at the bar. (I met a woman last year who said that right before an interview you really should have half a glass of wine and a valium. I kid you not.) I'm not staying for the whole conference, so I'd hope we could do it on the 28th, but meet up as one can meet up. Or since MLA is about the socializing, maybe we should meet up the 27th!

Fretful Porpentine said...

I'd like to throw in another tentative vote for the 27th or 28th, since there's an evening session on the 29th that I'd like to go to.

Dr. Virago said...

I'll be in Chicagoland for Xmas and after and plan to come into the city for my grad department's super secret party (i.e., not listed in the program), whenever that is, and for whatever blogger meet-up happens. So count me in!

heu mihi said...

OK it's late, because I was away, but MLA! Anytime, my friends! I have no settled plans and haven't looked at the schedule and may not attend any panels anyway, so whatevah.