Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pursuing My Dream

Thanks to all of you for your supportive comments.

Quite a lot has happened in a very short time. Just another sign that I am making the RIGHT decision FOR ME.

I can honestly say that I feel happy (maybe for the first time in years - It's a foreign feeling.). I feel hopeful. I feel as if I am finally pursuing my dream. It might not be what I do for the rest of my life, but it's a place I feel I could make a difference. Now.

I've spent a lot of time, money and so, so much energy trying so damn hard to get my Ph.D. Along the way, I earned my Master's Degree, so that's a pretty good development. But since then, I've spent 5 long years in the lab, failing. Over and over and over again. It's not in my nature to give up, otherwise I would have done so years ago. I stuck with it. I picked myself back up (And each time, that got harder and harder). I tried again.

It's been a long road. A road that has NO END in sight. Even with the new project, it dawned on me that in fact there was no guarantee that I would be out of here by August 31st (My advisor agreed with me on this.). I know that there are no guarentees in life, but I've gotten to the point of being so thoroughly UNHAPPY. Life is too, too short, folks. This is not my dream.

I realized a year or so ago that what I really wanted to do was teach. Unfortunately almost all university jobs now require that you do some amount of research. After my experience here, I can honestly say that my greatest fear would be watching my students fail, watching their disappointment. It's more than I could bear.

I realized what I really wanted to do was interact with students more closely, that I truely wanted to teach them, to motivate them to succeed where they once thought success was unatainable. I get this excited feeling inside when I'm teaching someone that has no idea about what I'm telling them. It's a challenge. And, I'm up for it. Beyond that, I feel that it's something I'm good at. I feel most fulfilled when I'm doing it.

With that realization, came the CLARITY that I did NOT NEED this degree for what I wanted to do. And then came the next question: So why am I still here, when I'm so miserable?

I don't think that there is any nobility in finishing something simply because I started, especially when it is causing me extreme pain and sacrifice. When it has cost me so much mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It's not worth that cost, especially when there are so many unknowns.

I know that life will present me with challenges no matter what I do. But I also know that I fought the good fight here. It's amazing to me that I lasted this long. And, it was a valuable experience. I have learned so much that I hope to be able to pass on to others.

So, here comes another beginning. Can you hear the happiness in my words? Can you sense the joy and the freedom? Can you tell that I feel SO much lighter? I hope so.

I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as a seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

-Dawna Markova

Monday, October 16, 2006

Belaboring the Issue

"When I grow up, I want to be a _____________."

Here I am again. Full circle once more. I've been here so much, I'm staring to get dizzy.

I guess the main problem is that I want to matter. I want to do something with my life that is going to have an impact. I want to help kids figure out what they want to do. I want to help them see that there is always a way to go after their dreams. I want to show them that the world is theirs for the taking. I want to help them see that they can make their own destiny. I want to mentor. I want to teach.

I DO NOT WANT TO DO RESEARCH. I do not want to have to fight for tenure.

The fight is gone.

And the question remains: Well, then why am I still here, trying to get a Ph.D., especially if I don't need it to do what I want to do? Why torture myself? Why not start living my dream now?

I'm just wondering if any of you have felt this way. Imprisioned. And utterly fearful of the future. Of making a change. Of what that change will mean to you, to those around you.

I don't want to live my life this way, I know that.

Sorry it's not more upbeat for a Monday, but that's where I am. Back to square 1.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Getting my swim ON!

Fantastic swim today. I decided I wanted to do at least 1500. And, I did.

But, I wanted to really focus on form. And, I did.

I didn't time anything, but judging from the number of times I jammed my fingers into the quickly approaching wall, I think I'm on to something. I'm almost excited to try it again on Monday (if I'm not too tired from the weekend ;)

Speaking of the weekend, if you have time to go wish Rocket Pants good luck on her 1/2 marathon tomorrow, please do! She has a goal, and I KNOW she can do it! She ain't called "Rocket Pants" for nothin'!

The weather is going to be fabulous in this neck of the woods. So, I plan to get out there, play in the leaves and be a kid again. :) Have great weekends, everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Ouchie! Ok, that's not exactly what I said when I burned my wrist on the iron for the SECOND time this week. And now I look like I'm trying to off myself. Not good Mav. Not good.

(I'm not trying to off myself, in case there was any worry.)

In my quest for fun health and weight loss, I went to my second weights class this morning, looking forward to Meaghan's torture. Except poor Meaghan sprained her ankle this past Sunday during her first 1/2 marathon. Yikes.

So we had pregnant nazi lady (Sorry, didn't catch her name.). At first I thought this would be a good thing... Yeah, not so much. She likes the ball. A lot. I don't so much (at least not the fast twisting moves and the ones that strain your back that she seemed to favor). So, I stuck it out for 40 minutes until we started doing things that made me cringe. One lady picked up her stuff and left, and I followed her. Unfortunately, I think we started a mass exodus. Hmmmmmm....

So, here's my public service announcement. Classes are great, but don't assume they are good for you 100% of the time. If something hurts or pushes you too far, STOP! You don't have to be Wonder Woman. We all have that inner voice, and it's there for a reason. :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One Good Decision

I'm finding that's all it takes these days: ONE good decision. It's a little more ideal, of course, if they all happen in succession, eh?

But really, as a friend asked me once, "How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time."

Missed the bus yesterday and the run didn't get done. Lesson learned? ALL workouts MUST be completed before 5pm. You'd think I'd learn.... I think I got it this time!

So, I made it to the pool this morning, and I actually enjoyed myself (once my teeth stopped chattering uncontrollably! GAH! NOT ready for winter, dudes!). Some faster sets, some time actually feeling like I wasn't fighting the water (and losing).

So that's my focus. One good decision at a time. It's all up to me.

See, I tend to be an all or nothing type of gal. Go, go, go! Get it done FAST! Get it done BETTER! The result of this is that I get incredibly burned out. I do it with work too (thank you to those friends that have clued me in, btw - See? I'm actually not a stubborn mule... all of the time...). Get up at 3 and 4 o'clock (am) to be stuck to the magnet (NMR for you chemistry geeks), working crazy hours.... What happens? I get sick. Lesson learned? Everything (EVERYTHING) in moderation. I think I'm starting to get it. :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Relaxing Weekend

And yet, it was all too short.

I worked Saturday - lab was kind, thank goodness. Rewarded myself with some shopping and dinner with a friend (yummy bento box at our favorite sushi haunt).

Sunday I woke up in the WORST mood. I knew I had a lot of plans (cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, sewing, running), and I really felt like I wouldn't have time to enjoy the day. I found myself disgruntled and impatient, dropping things, cursing. Finally, I took a deep breath (several, actually). Everytime I started to feel overwhelmed, I would slow down and take another deep breath (This might be the reason it took me so long to get through Walmart... I think I was moving in slow motion - TOO MANY PEOPLE!!!! TOO MANY SCREAMING BABIES!!!)


So, I made the soup, read my book, made the turkey casserole, read some more, did the groceries, set up my lunches (all those baggies take time during the week that I don't have anymore) for the week, sewed a bunch (!), talked to my mom (managing narrowly to not scream my head off), and talked with a good friend. It ended up being a beautiful day. I figured out that I don't have to push, push, push to get the work done all at once. I can feather it in throughout the day and still relax. I also figured out that it all didn't have to be done in one day. Slow and steady wins the race, you know?

Oh, I also watched Amazing Race (the only T.V. of the day).... Dude, Peter needs to GO! What a jerk! The picture of him sitting back, drinking on the boat while Sarah was struggling up that rock wall was too much. And now that the most respectful and healthy couple (imho) on there is gone... Oy, It's becoming too much of an effort to watch, you know? They need to have that sucker on in the middle of the day when I'm tempted to take a nap! :)

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 06, 2006


Oh, how I love Fridays. Especially when they are rest days. I can't begin to tell you how NICE it was to actually sleep until 7am and take a shower in my very own bathroom! Bliss!

It seems I'm nesting or something for the upcoming winter. I spent most of last night rearranging my living room furniture (a bit proud of myself for figuring out how to move the small, but very heavy entertainment center across the 17' living room!). It's better now, as the heat vent is now unobscured... I daresay, I like the new arrangement - Heck, now I can watch TV easily from the kitchen!

I figured that was enough of a workout, so I skipped the planned swim (and I'm still battling with leftover rot in my chest... prolly not a stellar idea).

So, this weekend is going to be a bit of an experiment. I realized with my weight loss goal (doing well, didn't gain this week... I figure it will take a week or two for my body to GET that I want it to shed the rolls attached to my back and ass), that dinners are my biggest challenge. SO, this weekend will be a cooking and freezing extravaganza. I plan to make chicken soup (crock pot), turkey casserole (from Chris Carmichael's cookbook), and healthy lasagne (with cottage cheese).

Then the plan will be to simply pull a single serving from the freezer in the morning, and WA-LAH!~ Homemade dinner in the evening in 5 minutes or less! Beauty!

I hope you all have wonderful weekends!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Whew, I have finally recovered from the rot that was lodged in my chest. Sunday dawned a beautiful day, complete with 50 degree temps, rain, and gusting winds, so I think my idea to skip the 1/2 marathon was a good one. We'll save pneumonia for another day, yes?

So, I have signed back up with the gym. Beautiful place. Feels like I'm at a spa. And, since I'm in that happy transition time, I'm having great fun going to classes. And, boy are they teaching me a lot:

Yoga - I'm about as bendy as a steel beam.

Cardio Sculpt - "Cardio" is a joke. "Scuplt" is NOT, however. YOUCH!

Spin Class - I'm weak. WEAK.

But this means that there is a lot of room to grow (or shrink, as the case may be and IS). Looking forward to getting more trim, more fit, and more ready to race...

And you may be wondering... What race? What race, indeed... Hmmm....

How about this one?

And so that brings up a new challenge. I think I need a coach, or at least a plan tailored to my strengths and weaknesses. Oh, and when I say coach, I mean either free or slightly less than arm and leg costs. Any ideas?

Much more to come later, but for now the focus is on putting the fork down, getting to the gym, and telling that weak little voice in my head that says, "you can't do this" during wimpy biceps sets that that attitude will get me NO WHERE toward completing my goal.

One day at a time. One decision at a time.