1. When I work out at the gym, both the muscular guys and the not-so-muscular guys either ignore me altogether or take one look at me and immediately avert their gaze to the girls with bigger boobs, flatter stomachs, and tighter clothes that accentuate their bigger boobs and flatter stomachs.
2. I thought about joining Tinder, since apparently that's the new dating app that everyone keeps talking about these days, and I've already tried match.com, eharmony, chemistry.com, and okcupid. But in order to join Tinder you have to join Facebook, which I never joined.
My parents are on Facebook, and they still don't know that I have a blog/a Twitter page/haven't voted Republican in the last three elections. I can't even set the alarm clock on my cell phone correctly half the time, which is why I keep running around shrieking, "I'm LATE! I'm LATE! There is NOT ENOUGH coffee to wake me up right now!" in the morning. So I doubt I have the patience to figure out how to use those privacy settings that would "parent-proof" my Facebook page.
3. I mentioned in a previous blog post how I recently became closer to a guy that I liked, who liked me back. Like I said before, I had my reasons for not describing in detail what happened with him on this blog. What I will say is that the person I thought he was turned out to be very different from the person that he actually is.
It felt like we were both trying to get each other to change a little too much. It's one thing to address your flaws and change bad habits, but it's another thing altogether to try to change who you are entirely. He and I are just very different. Although I've now accepted that it never would have worked between him and me in the long run, that realization was a letdown, especially because it's been a long time since I let myself feel anything real for anyone. I still want to meet someone special, but there is a part of me that is afraid I'll experience yet another letdown, and I'm already stressed out enough for the following reasons.
4. I've been applying for teaching jobs, and although I will not get an offer for a tenure-track job this year (you have to have gotten a request for an interview at the MLA conference that already took place in January), I am still hopeful that I will land a full-time position as a lecturer at a four-year college or a community college. The thing about the academic job market, especially for an English Ph.D., is that I have to go where the work is. I have no idea if I'm still going to be in Chicago next year or if I'm going to be halfway across the country in some college town. I don't think it's a good idea for me to start something new with some guy when there's the possibility that I might not even be here next year.
5. I took a leave of absence from teaching this year in order to focus on my dissertation and applying for teaching jobs, both of which have taken up a lot more time and a lot more caffeine than I expected. After tearing apart my most recent draft, my advisor told me that I could always defend next year if this year doesn't work out. But I have to finish and defend my dissertation this year, because I won't be able to get any more graduate funding after this year; I'm not willing to take on another student loan. The longer it takes me to earn my doctorate, the more difficult it will be for me to get a tenure-track job (and the reality is that many PhDs never become tenured). I'm ashamed that I'm behind many of my classmates, who finished a year earlier than I did (though their student loan debt is more than twice the size of mine, since they didn't work additional part-time jobs like I did) and already have tenure-track jobs.
I'm anxious to prove to the people who told me that my work isn't good enough (which, as a workaholic, made me feel like I wasn't good enough) that even though I will never be an academic superstar, at the same time I am intelligent and my work and experience do make me worthy of a full-time teaching job at a good college. I've been spending almost all my time holed up in my apartment, at the library, or in coffee shops, writing, reading, and caffeinating myself in order to stay awake long enough to get more writing and reading done.
Basically, I'm in full-on workaholic mode, and I'm so focused on my academic and professional goals that I have little time, energy, or interest in perusing more online dating profiles that say nothing but "If you want to know anything about me, just e-mail me"; to get "winks" from guys who are twenty years older than me; to get e-mails from guys my age that say, "I don't live in Chicago, but I'll be in the city for a couple days pretty soon. Want to meet up?" (That's code for: I'm looking for a one-night stand. Interested? My response to those guys is always a polite "no," but what I'd like to say is "Sure, I'd be happy to meet up with you...in HELL!")
On one of the rare occasions I let myself take a break to spend time with a friend, that particular friend told me, "You know that this is what you have to do to get your PhD." And I do know. But I can't help thinking of how I spent the majority of my twenties (years I'll never get back) earning my master's degree, teaching full-time, working in retail. In addition to the last years of my twenties, I spent almost half my thirties pursuing this PhD. Sometimes I regret that I didn't let myself take a break from working and enjoy my youth more often, and I worry that I'll wake up one day in my forties and realize that I worked my thirties away too.
What about you? Have you ever had to severely limit your social life in order to focus on other responsibilities, like work, school, or family? How did you deal with the consequences of that decision?
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