Tuesday, December 04, 2007

my snowgirl

In talking to a friend today I had a visual image of myself: a kid at a carnival running after balloons, catching far more than she can hold.

For someone who loves challenges, being in an MA program is like being at a carnival. My inbox fills up with emails about conferences, job opportunities, research grants. Professors and fellow students compare the challenges we taken on, how full we've filled our plates.

If I'm shown new opportunities - esp. if they're difficult or competitive - I can't help jumping at them. I don't even stop to think if they are what I really want, or how they fit in to my already busy life.

So the thesis option is more time-consuming and difficult? Let me at it. A conference? I want to present. Ooh, and at that one too... and at that one. A research grant? Please, pretty please. An employment contract - ooh, that too! And I don't just want to do it, I want to do all of it and get an A+.

But these balloons are lead and I've finally realized I'm sinking.

I might not be able (or willing) to drop them all now, but at least I can assess what I'm holding, and why. Maybe see how tightly I really need to hang on to everything, and if it's okay if they slip a little.

So this today, instead of sitting at my computer for my usual 8-10 hours, I went outside and built a snowgirl. You might not be able to tell, but she has dried flowers on her head. If you could see what my life's been like for the last two weeks, you'd know what an accomplishment she is for me.

And you'll notice there's not a balloon in sight.