You know, if I was a good blogger I would have written about this whole decision business a little more regularly, oh I don't know, maybe AS IT WAS HAPPENING? It's some good stuff, right? The terror. The whining. The impossible choices. The realization that no one except me is going to say what I want and need. The mood swings. The sick feelings. The holy crap there's a recession on AND a stimulus package that would likely affect my work directly why would I quit my job? The amazing shows of support and empathy from coworkers, including my wonderful boss, who I thought had it figured out. The gradual, unceremonious calming of the winds that revealed the decision that was there all along.
But no, I just clam on up like an idiot. Well, there you have it. Sorry. I'm ready for my piles of gold coins now.
I quit my job. I did! I have some temporary part-time work lined up, but it is temporary, and by summer I will be looking for more. I traded some freedom, more trips to the park, more snuggles, more mornings in PJs, for some sanity and a medium-to-large amount of uncertainty about what the future holds. Eek.
Most exciting, and seriously, I'm excited about this, is that I have some intriguing editorial work lined up. Reminding me of why I came back to graduate school in the first place--because I was an EDITOR, and I LOVED it, and I mostly just wanted to be competitive for all the really cool science editor jobs. (That, and to slack off in the Northwest for five years.) And it's with medical things, which reminds me why I went into public health in the first place, a million years ago--because I wanted to influence how doctors are educated. So ha? Full circle? Maybe, yes. Maybe it is the start of something big. Or not that big, because I am a MOTHER after all, but you know, important. A seed.
And as my BFF Michelle Obama says--and I do not quote directly--different things work for different families at different times. There is no right answer. But for today, this much I know:
That my women mentors who are most at the top of their game a) had children, b)carved out time and space to be with them when they were small, and c)only took on demanding research jobs when they were good and ready.
That the ways I have seen people--men and women--make this research gig work are not things that will likely ever be a welcome part of my life. Frequent travel, working late at night from home, getting up at 4am, catching up on email on weekend mornings, and such. I am really kind of a slacker. Oh, and deep passion for the work. I envy that.
That I cannot imagine a time when I would not wish to be home when my child gets home from school.
That even if I made it through this two-year fellowship, at the end would only await more pressure to bring in more grants, to do more research, to travel to present findings, to hire people and then scramble to keep them employed.
That rushing my son most mornings to keep up with my schedule so I can get to work is not a message about the pace of life that I want to impart if I can avoid it. See above re: slacker.
That I might not have the choice to quit a job one day, that I might have to work full-time to support my family. Anything can happen. That I have this choice, today, and I am seizing it.
That every time I have stood up and said what I wanted and needed (and mind you, these times are few and far between) very, very good things have happened.
So more baby-gazing time! Yay! And I'm an editor again! Yippee! And now, forthwith (what does that mean, anyway?) I will return to your previously scheduled programming of funnies, soup, daily life, my silly marriage, my silly shady past, and conversations with cashiers and baristas. That feels a little more like it. Taking myself so seriously? Booooring.
But here, a little more deep just to ease you out of it gently, lest you be blinded by the return of my sparkling wit: My favorite quote of all time, ever. Thanks, Ms Anonymous.
When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step into the darkness, faith means knowing two things: there will be something to stand on or you will learn how to fly."