I forced myself not to plan anything for this past weekend and it left me twitchy.  I spent much of the weekend feeling like I was supposed to be doing something, but unsure of what.  It has been SIX YEARS since I have lived life without some big, overarching GOAL.  On the one hand, I have accomplished something that only a very small percentage of the population ever accomplishes; I graduated.  (My transcript even shows my PhD now.)  On the other hand, I don’t have the traditional academic career path, so I am not currently preoccupied with finding my first professional position.  I have a professional position (and have had for nearly 20 years).  I have an academic position teaching at a local community college.  I’m not really searching for anything.

In some ways, it’s as though I am mourning my loss; having a big goal gave me a purpose, and for all that it was periodically painfully stressful it also provided some structure and context to my life.  It’s not like there aren’t things I need to be doing now:

  • Revise stats class for next semester, including reviewing homework that didn’t work this year
  • Convert psych 101 class to an online format for next semester
  • Turn my dissertation into a journal article
  • Learn enough about missing data analysis techniques to determine whether I can use them to fill in some of the problematic blanks in my dissertation and get another article out of that
  • Renovate my master bathroom (paint cabinets, replace countertop with tiled countertop and vessel sinks, tile shower)
  • Renovate my guest bathroom (paint cabinets, replace countertop)
  • Paint master bedroom
  • Re-paint living room and probably kitchen

None of those are short projects.  Yet none have the overarching purpose that finishing the PhD had.

Maybe that’s good.  I appear to need to learn how to live in-the-moment rather than constantly focused on the future.  Perhaps that’s the answer to the question: Learning how to be happy with now instead of always looking forward.  That would be a new experience.

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