This Is Nothing

Insane Graduate School Edition

4/12/2009

Separation Anxiety

ďYouíve come at the perfect time!Ē I told my parents about a million times this weekend. I could have meant the weather, which was sunny, clear, and mid-fifties (contrasting last yearís visit in March where we were all snowed in together for the visit). The daffodils were just starting to come up here, and theyíd get to see spring happen all over again for their visit. But really, Mom and Dadís visit for Easter weekend was something I had been waiting for all week at the very least. Potentially all month? And of course Iíll never be able to tease apart how much of my frustration with everything else was just a result of my anticipation for their arrival. But I felt like they arrived at the perfect time.

This year is hard. Hard in ways that Iím sure seem laughable to a lot of people, because honestly we have jobs, our health, and very few things to worry about except graduate school. I fully realize it could be harder. Could be more complicated. But that doesnít mean it isnít both those things. Andyís going to graduate in May, which leaves him stressed and anxious above and beyond his normally easy-going self. Iím STILL struggling to write my first paper so I can get that much closer to graduating, and it feels like one of those dreams where the monster is chasing you and you want so badly to run but your feet seem glued. I make agonizingly slow progress towards my goal, and many days I feel helpless to make it all go any faster, even though itís exactly what I need to do to get out of graduate school with the PhD. I donít want to be in school this time next year. I want to move on with my life. But on to what? Oh man, letís not go down that path today.

I put all the worrying on hold for this visit, because I see my parents so rarely now. I canít tell you how many years of my life I spent yearning to get away from my house and hometown and on to exciting grown-up things. But I suspect I donít have to tell anyone, because perhaps we all felt that way once. Nowóin what seems a textbook Cruel Twist of FateóI find it harder and harder to leave my family. So much so that currently I have that awful knot in my chest that pretty much screams I canít let them go. They canít leave. I canít go back to being the adult again. . . And thatís really what itís all about. When they are around I can sometimes pretend Iím just their kid again, and not worry about the rest of my life. We have so much fun together, and I am reminded again and again where I came from. How parts of me I thought peculiar come from them. My sense of humor, my obsessive worrying, my eyes and my skin. But every time I see them they seem a little bit older. I realized recently that they are grandparent age, which seems scarier than actually having a kid of my own. Hereís where I could go on and on about mortality, but I donít think I need to. Suffice it to say that the time I spend with them seems only more precious. Itís a funny blessing to have parents you enjoy being around.

Theyíre going to head back to WV tomorrow and Iíll head back to work. On the bright side, the Spring Bellydancing UW show was this last Saturday and my parents got to see me perform bellydance live for the first time, and our performance went really well. I could fill a whole extra entry about the show, but Iíll keep it to this thought: the hard work paid off better than I imagined it would. This will be my last Club Show and perhaps a little bit of that knot in my chest belongs to it too. But also Iím glad to have that time commitment off my schedule.

The thing is, I need to get a lot of work done in the weeks ahead if I want to graduate anytime soon. At least Iím at the point where I know I need to get out. At least I know a bit about what I DO NOT want to do for a living.

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