September 17, 2008

"Every planned occupation..."

I am getting settled into my job.

I was describing the things that freak me out about it to someone last night (at least one of which I've mentioned here before), and it seemed worth writing about it here. Before I go down that path, let me begin by saying that I feel really, incredibly lucky to have gotten such a good position so quickly. I am pleased to be working in the field in which I was trained. I enjoy having a job that challenges me, that makes me think.

Now Ima set this thing off.

Even though I do like my job, this whole working five days a week business leaves a lot to be desired. There are so many days where I leave work feeling satisfied with what I accomplished that day, but then I'll think: "I have to go back again tomorrow? And again the day after that?" And so on. I can't let myself think that way too long, because I start to get freaked out by realizing that I am doomed to repeat this pattern for the next 35-40 years. Then I think, "Is this it? Is this all there is in life? Oh, my God!" And then, in the middle of the parking lot I throw my hands in the air helplessly and scream, "Why, God, why!? There must be more...."

I'm just kidding. I don't really do that. But I can't say that I won't do it tomorrow.

I think that part of what is feeling so weird to me is that in the past there was always something very specific I was working toward, and I knew pretty clearly exactly how long I was going to have to work to get to it. In high school, it was college. In college, it was grad school. In grad school, it was a postdoc. As a postdoc, it was a job. Now the job is here--okay, great! But...but...what else? I was being carried along on this forward-moving momentum for so long, and to suddenly come to an abrupt stop seems strange and uncomfortable.

It makes the future seem like a vast but hazy expanse.

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