Shorty but a goodie

January 22, 2011 § 10 Comments

Well, that’s a little arrogant. I don’t know if this blog post would be considered a “goodie,” but whatever. I’m tired and have two hours to go before my deadline, so I’m just going to let this be a quick, good post, and then call it a day.

Oh yes…there’s a list. This is some real classy blogging, folks.

1. I had a nightmare this morning that we had to cuddle out. My nightmare, which I awoke from around 7 a.m. today, included a sad little scenario in which Robert thought it was appropriate to tell all of our friends and family that I was dead…just because he didn’t want to be married to me any more. Apparently I was stressing out about talking to my parents today (number 3 on the list). In the dream, it was before Christmas, and for some reason or another I was at my parents’ home without Robert…who was at a friend’s wedding. Without me. Strange. After I talked to my parents, I called Robert at the wedding reception to tell him how it went. He stopped talking during our conversation…like, he was mid-sentence, and I suddenly realized that he didn’t want to talk to me. One of us hung up on the other, but I can’t remember who did what. I do remember feeling unbelievably sad and angry, though. Then, the dream continued, and next thing I know, I’m glimpsing the wedding reception…where Robert is offering a toast to the happy couple and saying something along the lines of, “And even though we are sad that Amanda is no longer alive, I know that she wanted to….” …something. I started to wake up at that point because I was so angry and sad–it suddenly dawned on me that my husband was lying to people about my demise because he didn’t want to be married any more. When I woke up, Robert was on his side facing away from me; I attempted to loop my arm through the one draped on his side, desperately needing some comfort. No such luck–he rolled away from me. My dream started to crash back to me. Did Robert really wish me dead? I poked him and whispered (not wanting to wake him but wanting him to wake up), “Can you cuddle me? I had a bad dream.” This is not uncommon in our house. Robert sighed, rolled over, and wrapped me up. My dream melted away while I melted into Robert’s arms. It was wonderful.

2. Today was my mom’s birthday! We celebrated with them (they came to visit us), and part of our birthday celebration was also our university’s national championship celebration. Although we spent a good portion of the day in different lines (and freezing our tails off in the coldest 41 degree weather we’d ever felt…gusting wind and shade really makes a difference), we still enjoyed each other’s company and were able to have wonderful conversations. Probably the best part of spending the day in all those lines was that they led us to and from the exciting celebration for the championship–because the game was played and won across the country, many of us could not travel (although…many of us did [myself and Robert not included, lol]). We cheered, we applauded, we War Eagle’d our little hearts out, and we sang fight songs endlessly. We might have gotten a little teary-eyed…maybe. Our president made a fantastic little comment that just made my born-Tiger heart sing. He said, “As university presidents, we’re expected to remain neutral and welcoming to all teams and schools to visit our campus. And, of course, I am. But I must say that this season, there were two exceptional teams on that field: the Auburn offense, and the Auburn defense.” I loved that. And you know what? I want to love that in the total blissful ignorance that outsiders get to enjoy.

3. Which brings me to number three. I talked to my parents today about the things I have been fairly vague about in my blog…I wanted to tell them first. Folks, as a couple of you have already guessed, I am unhappy in my career choice (teaching). I did not know that this is what the career was about when I entered graduate school, and, truth be told, I was emotionally and mentally ill-equipped to make a decision about the next seven years of my life. But I made the decision to go on through to get a Master’s and then to keep going on through to get a PhD. I am exhausted. I am worn down. And I do NOT want to be a teacher any more. I’m in my sixth year of teaching undergraduate students…and already I want to retire. This is not the attitude to have before going on the job market where I would theoretically hope to land a job in which I would die behind my desk in my office at the ripe old age of 139. But I’m tired now. And I can’t stand it now. Essentially, I was lying to myself for these past several years, believing that I even wanted to do this in the first place. But I was blinded by the possibility that I would grow out of my unhappiness. I haven’t yet, and I think that’s a sign. I’ll write more on this now and in greater detail, now that I’ve shared with my parents, but I thought first I should remark instead on how astounded I was at their reactions. I was afraid this entire time that I would disappoint them. That somewhere along the way, “we want you to be happy, Amanda” really meant, “we want you to be a college professor, Amanda.” Obviously, I misconstrued their meaning. I attempted to create hidden meaning where there was none. Instead, their reaction was a little…underwhelming. They were supportive, curious about the next step (whether or not this means I’ll graduate with a PhD or walk away ABD [all but dissertation…meaning I’ve done everything but write the book–this is my real and true status currently]). I explained to them that I would still write, that I’m still graduating in August with my PhD. I will not have come this far just to walk away from it. I’m at least too proud and too stubborn for that. But I don’t want to teach. My mom was relieved to know that I’m planning on taking a year to do something in the 9-5 work world. Neither of my parents expected me to have the answers right now (which, of course, I panicked about last night before Robert and I went to bed). They were satisfied enough to know that I identified my unhappiness at the early stages of my career life–essentially, I realized I hated my job before it was too late. The knot in my stomach has completely unraveled. My shoulders are lightweight and burden-free. I feel better.

I feel better.

Happy birthday, Mom. Thanks for the amazing present.

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§ 10 Responses to Shorty but a goodie

  • AMo says:

    I’m glad you told them and they reacted well. You deserve to be happy in any career of your choosing and it’s never too late to change. Love and hugs! 🙂

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks, A.Mo. And thanks so much for being so encouraging while I was coming to terms with this. When you first asked me if I was having trouble hanging on or letting go, I really wanted to be the kind of person who was having trouble hanging on…at the time, I thought that that was the better (the “right”) answer. But now, I see that there is no better answer than another. It depends on the person answering the question. Thanks for challenging me to really think about my own happiness. 🙂

  • petthedog says:

    You had quite an emotional weekend my friend!! Even though it started with the stress of that awful nightmare, I’m so glad that you had that chat with your parents. Now you know you have the support of your whole family. Wonderful.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks, V. Now I feel like I can tell the world…and maybe even sit down with my committee (when the time is right) and have a little heart-to-heart. 🙂

  • Bless your heart. That has to be hard. I was planning on going straight from M.A. into Ph.D. programs, but I couldn’t do it. I liked the teaching. Just not academia. I love to write. I didn’t want to spend my life writing about writing.
    Take care, my friend!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      I have never not been a student, even since kindergarten. I’ve been in “college” since 2000. I’m tired. One of my ideas is to look into MLS programs (Master of Library Sciences). When I mentioned this to my mom, I told her that I’ve missed the Fall 2011 application deadline, so I’m going to spend a year just doing other things (working literally wherever I can find a job). I expected her to be disappointed, but she was relieved. She said, “You just need to take time off and not be a student!” I had no idea that my mom had even noticed how tired I was. I think that just shows how self-absorbed I’ve been, not to see that others could see my exhaustion, too.

      I’m the opposite side of the coin from you! 🙂 I love doing the research but I don’t like the writing. I often find myself paralyzed by the fear of imperfect writing, so when I do sit down to compose something, it’s an extremely difficult task. I don’t find it enjoyable. But I love love love learning interesting things about books and writers. So I love to do the research, but I don’t like writing about my research. Lol, and guess what a tenure-track literature professor has to do? (Well, obviously, you would know exactly what it entails.) A lifetime of that? No thanks! 😉

  • Tori Nelson says:

    Tigers and Teachers and Nightmares, Oh my! I’m sorry you’re not loving the career right now. I think it was a HUGE step to admit this to your parents, and- like you said- realize that the pressure is gone. Happiness is more important than a particular job title, so giant kudos to you for choosing to make some changes that will get you to a happy place!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thank you, Tori! 🙂 I’m trying to re-learn what it means to be happy. When you hear all your life that choosing to teach is a noble pursuit and that money doesn’t matter, you feel extremely guilty if you can’t find happiness in that noble pursuit and find yourself wanting money. I’m learning to release that guilt and prioritize my personal happiness over some arbitrary definition of a noble career path.

  • Jennifer says:

    I’m so happy for you cousin! I would like to say “I told you so” in only a nice way though…I know your mom wouldn’t give you anything but love. =) I am glad you realized it too! We can be our own worst enemies…you know what I mean. I’m happy you feel better, now you can let those feelings of guilt subside and move on with that dissertation! =) XOXO

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thank you, cousin! 🙂 I really appreciate your encouragement and support while I was starting to come to terms with all of this, too. 🙂 Knowing that my family was behind me really made the scary parts about this a lot less scary. Love you!

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