So I began this blog about a year ago, fairly directionless and not really knowing what to expect. I posted several writings over the first few months, then my blog writing and interest sharply dropped off – another blog bit the dust. I blame a being-stuck-in-the-mud mentality that had overtaken my life and work – I wasn’t clear enough on who I was, what I was doing, and why I was doing it, to find the mental stamina for maintaining a blog.
Well, I’ve finally decided what I want this blog to be about, but I’ll get to that in a minute. First, let me re-introduce myself: I’m a thirty-something postdoctoral fellow, and I married my best friend a little over a year ago. He’s a wonderful and supportive husband, with his own career in research in a very unrelated field, working for the government. We just celebrated our first anniversary last month and have been trying to start a family for a while now. Simultaneously, I’ve been applying for tenure-track faculty positions, the few that are available right now, around the country. My husband is willing to follow me just about anywhere, so long as he’s likely to find a job in his field (like I said – very supportive). AND we’re trying to makeover and put his condo on the market by summer, just in case a job offer actually comes available this year (not likely, but you never know).
In the midst of all of this activity, soul searching has been inevitable, and I’ve been reminded that there’s fairly little in life you get to control. For instance, you can do your best to get lots of publications, think about the goals of your future lab, and plan out the grants you’ll someday write; but you have no idea when a search committee will decide from a piece of paper that you’re worthy of an interview. Likewise, you have no say about when you get pregnant, but you can have lots of fun trying, as long as you don’t start obsessing about every little thing that biologically goes into this process… This lack of control has been very difficult for me to digest. I’m a planner, and a plan would make all of this craziness much easier to deal with. Unfortunately, there’s just not a lot about any of this that is plan-able.
However, there are some questions that I can answer, or at least begin to think on, which might give me some sense of control in all this uncertainty. What kind of a PI do I want to be? What kind of a wife/mother am I going to be? How will I eventually balance the two? So that’s it – the focus of this blog. This could include anything: work-life balance, career goals, or quick recipe ideas (I especially loved this post on crock pots from PLS!).
One last note: I’ve recently found a great many scientists out there – graduate, postdoctoral, and faculty – blogging to sort through some of these same questions. To all of you, thank you for writing about your lives…I’ve gained a lot of comfort in reading your blogs over the past month. Your musings have helped me develop my blog’s identity, and I truly hope to interact with these wonderful writers as I embark on this new adventure!