Notes on a creative life (a.k.a. my return to academia)

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

streetI quit my job today. After less than a year of employment.

Was it an awful place to work? Not really. Were my coworkers difficult to get along with? No, for the most part they are wonderful, kind, intelligent people. Were my job duties mind-numbing? Sometimes, but such is the reality of many office jobs, I think. Were the hours long and conditions demanding? Definitely not. In fact, I had a pretty sweet gig: part-time, good pay, telecommuting/flexible hours, and I could even bring my dog to the office.

Why, then, did I quit? Why would I give up on a job after such a brief term? Continue reading

Inflated self-importance and the value of unplugging

Oh, the mouse-clicking insanity!
Oh, the mouse-clicking insanity!

I forgot my phone at home yesterday. When I left the house in a rush, my pre-coffee brain could not recall that I had plugged it into my stereo system to stream NPR, thus avoiding the agonizing membership drive week broadcast on our local station.

I recognized the unusually comfortable state of my rear pocket while driving to campus. I then went through at least three of the Kübler-Ross stages of grief: denial (I couldn’t have forgotten it… I must have it here somewhere), anger (what an idiot I am for leaving it at home), and finally acceptance (nothing I can do about it now). But what was most interesting was the period of mild anxiety I experienced. What if clients called about their projects? What if I missed an important email? What if Ben called because his car broke down and he needed my help?

It took a surprising amount of self-talk to dispel this anxiety. I actually had to remind myself that none of my clients’ projects were so pressing that they couldn’t wait until the afternoon. Nobody was gnawing their fingernails waiting for an email response from me. And Ben has plenty of other people he can call if his car breaks down.

I am not so important that I cannot unplug for a while. None of us are. Continue reading