This is a personal post-fair warning. Sometimes these personal posts help me digest what’s happening in my head, and something about not only writing but publishing online, helps me feel clearer. Even if no one reads them.
When I started looking for a job in academia a few years back I was married, had a high paying job, ran a lab, had a nice set of friends, but I felt kind of fake. I wanted to like all of it because I was supposed to. I wasn’t happy in the marriage (I couldn’t imagine having kids with that person), I realized that the corporate world wasn’t for me, and I only had the wide net of friends I could feel like I had friends. I faked being happy in so many aspects of my life. Until I realized that I shouldn’t fake it anymore and I was honest with myself and everyone around me and decided to drop it. When I finally dropped the ball that I was leaving in a year (I took an extra year before leaving my job to finish a project), it was felt hard. No one had any idea and it was a tough separation. But I’m so much happier in my work now. Holding onto unhappiness and faking it is bad for the soul. I had to “break up” with many aspects of my life.
When I started looking for an academic position my SO was on-board. They didn’t really work much (which is a small part of why I was irked with them), and they were proud of being ‘lazy’, so they could come wherever I went. This got me thinking about all the things I disliked in my SO at the time. But stupidly I tried to continue on with it and continued faking being happy. We moved to the new city and I realized that it was a mistake to continue in the relationship. This led to a separation and eventual divorce. All around the time that I had a parent and friend pass around the same time. So in a change of societal norms, I was stuck paying spousal support to someone who is fully capable of having a good job. And this spousal support came on the heels of me taking a huge pay cut to come to academics. The money doesn’t matter as much, but when someone doesn’t even have to work and takes a chunk of my income, it stings. This also led to me realizing that it was time to break up with friends that weren’t healthy for me. I have friendquaintances all over the place that I love to hang out with, but I wasn’t going to water a plant that I didn’t want to water, so to speak.
I eventually met someone new that I couldn’t be closer to. Even in the worse of times, it’s still better than the best of times previously. And my job and friends are exactly how I want it (though I wish I lived closer to some of my friends). I don’t feel like I have to be fake and pretend to like everything because I’m supposed to be happy with everything I have. I was afraid to let people know that I wasn’t awesome all the time and correspondingly let myself be put into situations I didn’t want to be in. Well, when I’m unhappy now I’m not afraid to tell people, and if I don’t like a situation I change it or myself. After all, I only have control over myself. Life is too short for me to not be living the way I want to. I understand concessions need to be made but always within reason. Present me feels like I have so much more control over myself and it’s a great feeling. There are obviously things I would prefer differently like my ex-bum taking care of themself, my friends living close, or teaching a class I’d like to teach, but I feel so much better that I’m driving my ship.