Wow. It's been a while since I've posted. Holidays and a trip to visit family happened. Tons of snow days and vacations days passed, oh yeah, and some sick days too (ugh). I knew that things would be generally slow for my dissertation due to the holidays and the crazy weather, but of course, things have been going a bit slower than I had hoped. Recruiting for qualitative research is definitely a process, and that process isn't always as streamlined as originally planned.
I have to say that despite trying to keep a positive attitude since the onset of this semester, I've been feeling a bit melancholy. I guess reading articles and message boards about the bleak academic job market hasn't helped. Yes, that along with the slow pace of research and constant set backs from sicknesses, the weather, and regularly scheduled school vacations and professional development days. Of course, I am also teaching this semester, and at times I've had to really psych myself up more than usual. I think my students are feeling it too-- it's just been a tough winter (of course, this isn't an excuse for some of the seemingly minute yet still obvious disrespect in the classroom-- eyerolling, lack of participation, packing up 10 minutes before the end of class, etc., but that is a rant for another time). I'm having to remind myself that I really have to take things one day at a time and make my work a priority, although many days lately, I'm dragging.
That being said, I am actually grateful for last week's school vacation, when we were able to do some fun activities as a family and my husband and I were each able to have some fun one-on-one time with my son. I heard that song "Beautiful Boy" by John Lennon later last week; I've been thinking of all these things and getting emotional. There are days when I wish I could just focus my attention 100% on my kids without all this other stuff hanging over my head (i.e., all those papers I wish that I had finished grading already). I often have such a hard time being fully "present" even when I am with them. As Lent began last week, I really wish I had the strength to say, "I'm not going to check my phone repeatedly in the evenings, especially since I refuse to respond to student emails after a certain time anyways and especially since the lives of my Facebook friends are nowhere near as important as this time I get with my kids". Maybe despite this addictive habit, I need to just make a conscious decision not to do it.
I find that lately, as is the case for many of us in this information age, I feel overloaded by often unnecessary information rather than focusing on what matters. Sometimes I think that getting iphones was one of the worst things that happened in our household. Yes, it has been helpful on many occasions, but we have succumbed to this norm of always having to have a device in hand, "checking" things. I sometimes try to rationalize and say that I will try to look up articles for my dissertation on my phone, but I always meander to Facebook, Twitter, or some mindless game.
As I write this stream of consciousnesses, maybe instead of flip flopping about a change I would like to make for Lent, I should just DECIDE to take a sabbatical from Facebook, or from using my phone at a certain time of day. Yes, I have been having an issue with other things lately that I would like to change, such as eating too much chocolate. However, trying to make a change for the better isn't always about making a change that is easy.