Three Funerals and a Baptism

Nope, not the title of a movie, but of my life this week. Actually, that’s the short version of the title. The long version would be something like: Three Funerals, a Baptism, an Anniversary, Three Deadlines, Six Meetings, Two Classes and a Dozen Errands.

My most frequently uttered inner-thought this week was, “This is too much. There’s too much on my mind. All these feelings are too big for me”. We often think and talk about balance during our PhD careers. I think the hardest part about our PhD is probably that we pursue it at a time in our lives where we are old enough for really big things to happen to us, and young enough to still feel unsure, unbalanced, inexperienced and afraid. I’ve realized lately that finding this balance is not only about devoting time to other activities outside of your work, but also devoting a part of yourself, your thoughts and your feelings, to the stuff going on in your life outside of work. It is about getting to know yourself and your needs, and being kind enough to yourself to make meeting those needs a priority. It is about being okay with setting aside time to process things, to have a slow-going morning once in a while, to stare blankly at a wall, to wallow and brood, to enjoy some peace with yourself, your love, your family, and to celebrate.

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Without words

How could such a gloriously sunny day bring such terribly bad news? And why is it that it always takes such tragedies and painful occurrences for us to (finally) gain some perspective, a new take on what really matters in life?

Today, after an amazingly peaceful walk from the Old Port to the Atwater market, after a day of much-needed fresh air, sunshine, quiet and simplicity, I came home to a haunting phone call. I was first asked, “Did you hear what happened?” which immediately caused my heart to sink and my stomach to turn. “No,” I answered, fearfully, wincing already. I found out that a very close friend of my father’s — a friend dear to our whole family — had suddenly lost his son and his ex-wife last night, in a house fire, and only his youngest son was able to escape.  (more…)

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