I came across this passage earlier today and it instantly pulled something out of me. The need to write! And so here I am, blowing the dust off of my keyboard in hopes that I still have something to say. As this blog has served as a venue for both personal reflections on my career and more academic matters, I hope a post of a more personal nature will not be unwelcome.
I honestly don’t know how those with lives and active careers and families find the time to do all that us “bloggers” are supposed to do. The posts, the podcasts, the social media, the research and writing, the functions and conventions… it seems to go on and on. How many responsibilities do we take on? How many priorities do we let slip before we say enough? And so if The Struggling Archaeologist seems wont to disappear from time to time in the midst of a particularly hectic time in my life, I do beg a little understanding. I am still passionate, I am still relevant, but I am, as always, still struggling. This is not meant as another “poor me” post. Just some insight into my take on the podcast and blog in these post-grad years.
The dream is to be with my husband and child, take care of myself, go to work and spend quality time on professional projects while reserving time to focus on my personal projects like the podcast, and maybe have a little fun here and there. How hard can that be? Well, it turns out, quite. Your professional work can take over if you are someone like me, who works through lunch breaks daily in order to reach the level of detail and perfection that I strive for. Your home life can suck up all time and energy when your toddler is needy and your home is… lived in. Throw in a move, a new job hunt, house hunting, the holidays, and three crazy dogs and yeah, you get the picture.
This time of transition has been stressful, not gonna lie. There are days when I drive over four hours to look at houses in Pennsylvania (our new home), grab dinner somewhere, and drive over four hours back to New York (no judgement, I’m squatting with my parents while I house hunt). There are days when I plan to spend the whole day online doing job applications and barely get through one because my son is being extremely clingy and insists on watching truck videos on my laptop for hours on end. There are days when I just need to get out of my parent’s house and walk around our village in silence, taking in the fall leaves and relishing an hour without the never ending responsibilities crashing down on me. I have indulged in a little reading, a little personal writing, and a few moments not brimming with thoughts of career, jobs, research, house listings, and renovations. Do I feel guilty that I haven’t spent these moments looking up archaeology news, reading academic journals, or finishing the podcast episode I’ve been writing since May? Yes, but not very. Over the last year I have devoted more time to my work in higher education, instructional design, and teaching than I have spent at home with my family. We have a new life ahead of us in which the work I’ve done over the last few years in developing my career will hopefully allow me to provide for my family and find the kind of professional fulfillment that I have dreamed of. Do I deserve a few more of those useless days in which I feel I have gotten less done that I should have? Oh, hell yes.
My career is like a drive through the suburbs of Philadelphia (which I have spent quite a lot of time lost in lately). You can’t just drive straight. That road doesn’t exist. I have had to pivot, I have done some meandering, I have been thrown by unexpected detours, and I have had to improvise. I have not always felt like I knew where I was going, but I drove on. So this is where I find myself on a dreary day in early November- working every day to see my family happy and thriving two months from now when we settle into our new life. Taking it a day at a time and hoping my map is trustworthy. I will get around to that podcast, I will get around to writing more often, I will keep up with the news when I can, and I promise I will continue to be your Struggling Archaeologist. But for now, I’m going to pour myself another glass of wine and open that book I’ve been trying to finish for months. I leave you with a quote from Laozi…
“Meandering leads to perfection”
Boy, I hope that guy knew what he was talking about.
Meanderings and Pivots