Sunday, November 12, 2006

Crap. Already? - The Plan: Month 2

This is going to suck. But I keep dreading it, so I’m going to write it out, wince, then go find some lunch.

Problem 1: Location
“How many years are on the training grant?” I asked after learning Rick was being paid from it for another year.

Boss held up three fingers. That means that I have a confirmed job – being paid well and working with wonderful people – until August of 2008. So I’ll likely stay. Because I haven’t accomplished much of anything and doing a lot of work and writing in a little under 2 years sounds a lot better than sending out my CV in 6 months.

Yes, I’d still like to be closer to my family. No, I’m not really happy here. It’s still a problem. But the solution is different than I originally proposed.

It remains a finite problem. I’ve added a year to the duration of problem 1, but I think it’s worthwhile. Maybe. I don’t believe in being miserable in the present to promote future happiness (I said I didn’t believe in it, not that I don’t do it.) so the new goal is to figure out what my optimum plan would be – leaving research, embracing academia, figuring something else out – and try to be happy in my Southern location in the meantime.

Problem 2: Health
Additional exercise? Not a single time. Food? Mostly eating out, interspersed with cheesy potatoes, crab dip and brownies made at home. Oh, then there’s Twix and Kit Kats debacle at Halloween. I’m having trouble finding the motivation to walk the dog in the morning, though I have clung to that particular routine like one of those little sand burs that gets stuck in your sock and pricks your finger when you try to remove it.

This month? Baby steps. Incremental additional exercise – evening sessions twice a week for the first week, then increasing until I can manage 4 times a week. I have the time. I can develop healthier habits. It’s just a matter of creating the guilt that pushes me into a routine.

As far as eating goes, I think my only demand is that I finish a cup of yogurt in the morning. My beginning might define my end, so if I start well in the morning, I won’t be so rabidly starving at lunch. Plus, that’s feasible – no “Month 3: Thwarted Again” for this one. I can eat yogurt.

Additionally, I have made an appointment with Dr. Counselor, so my foot is poised to take an additional small step toward mental health. I think this is quite important.

Problem 3: God
It’s so easy for me to make spiritual devotion a passing phase. Which is painfully, shamefully wrong of me. I haven’t been to church this month – the whole “how to find a new place of worship” is a major stumbling block for me. But I love church at the holidays – it’s so busy and outwardly focused and decorated. So I just picked two in a town near where I live and will call to find out worship times. I’ll attend both before month 3’s report.

I read The Great Divorce. Listened to The Screwtape Letters. Loved them both. So I’m learning, but I’m not really applying. I’ve skipped many more morning devotionals than not.

Mornings should involve yogurt, walk and devotional. Got it. I’ll pray about the rest of it because it’s a shame to make some lovely realization, then ignore it.

This really does suck so far, doesn’t it?

Problem 4: Professional
And it’s not going to get any better here.
Project M – the grant application is mostly written. Boss is reading it, then I’ll finish and email Dr. Icing tomorrow.
Project X – Recruitment began, though we have nobody enrolled yet. Which is good since I need to finalize the protocol, write up some forms and do an trial run.
Project P – Progress! Multiple scans, a bit of reading. I need to send email and consult my handy to-do list at work for what comes next.
Project H – Offically abandoned. I’ll ask about what I’ve done already, but I’m done looking for something that might not be there, and isn’t compelling even if it does exist. The data are backed up and off my laptop. And this is coming off the list.
Project F – So Project H will move to this area, for Finish – the heading for research that won’t just get published already. One paper is with the editor after re-review. The other is unknown – I’m too scared to send email. The project formerly known as H remains with the major authors.
Project B – Moving along, though slowly and with much backtracking. I have hopes we’ll get through it relatively soon though. Next step involves working with the friendly grad student in my new office, so that’s good. I like him.
And introducing... Project A – Good learning experience, relatively easy and straightforward at this stage. It’s on my list and I haven’t even screwed it up. Yet.

Moving my desk was good. And it’s a work of art with the exquisite organization I have performed. So that’s something positive!

Problem 5: Social
If it involved anyone other than Friend, I haven’t done it. And I basically wait for her to ask me to do something. So let’s mark this one ‘utter failure and don’t really care’ and move on.

This deserves its own post – and I have one in mind – but the goals are already being unmet like crazy, so I hesitate to add another one here right now. I’ll think about it though.

Problem 6: Family
I didn’t make the trip home this month which was disappointing and upsetting. But I did talk to Mom, Dad, Brother and Aunt yesterday while Christmas shopping, so that was lovely. I miss them and love them very, very much. I’ll see them at Thanksgiving (for an extended trip home) and again at Christmas. I think about them a lot.

Family’s constant though, so I’m leaving them off the list of things to do for month 3 as well.

[Upon editing, I have noticed that I've neglected to deal with social or family issues, which would likely make me happier in the present. I don't know what I'm going to do about it, but I did notice. Just FYI.]

Problem 7: Selfish
OK, so I missed this deadline, but I am all set up. I start with four new boys (pardon me while I pout over the loss of my former group because “scheduling was too difficult”) on Tuesday afternoon. I’m sure I’ll let you know how it goes.

I’d say that my progress was pitiful, but that’s pretty obvious. I’ve made very moderate demands of myself for next month though, so hopefully I can write a lovely update in December and figure out where to get more aggressive with The Plan.

I believe this is where The Plan and I aren’t even sure we like each other anymore, but we’ll stay together because it’s easier than finding someone new…


The Contessa said...

Hey at the very least you are making some small steps in some areas and big ones in others. As a project manager that is the norm on any project... you just have to make sure that you are consistently addressing things and eventually it will work out. A little dose of faith doesn't hurt either ( I had to learn that one the hard way with weight loss but it worked! ).

Keep plugging! and remember you are a goddess!!!

FemaleCSGradStudent said...

Good work on stepping towards mental health. After 9 months with my own Dr. Counselor, I've stopped crying at my desk everyday. It's great, and environmentally friendly, since I don't use so many tissues.

Good luck with all of the plan.

Anonymous said...

plans can always be modified! you are doing great though and making progress. go you!

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