Scientiae: inspiration or desperation?
I'm going to paraphrase this title because the dichotomy reminded me of this, one of my all-time favorite scenes in a movie. From the trailer scene in Kill Bill (dialogue helpfully provided by this site).
Budd: So, which "R" you filled with?
Elle Driver: What?
Budd: They say the number one killer of old people is retirement. People got 'em a job to do, they tend to live a little longer so they can do it. I've always figured warriors and their enemies share the same relationship. So, now you ain't gonna hafta face your enemy on the battlefield no more, which "R" are you filled with: Relief or Regret?
Elle Driver: A little bit of both.
Budd: Bullshit. I'm sure you do feel a little bit of both. But I know damn well you feel one more than you feel the other. The question was, which one?
Elle Driver: Regret.
...and then later, she says:
Elle Driver: [to Budd, as he is dying] Now in these last agonizing minutes of life you have left, let me answer the question you asked earlier more thoroughly. Right at this moment, the biggest "R" I feel is Regret. Regret that maybe the greatest warrior I have ever known, met her end at the hands of a bushwhackin, scrub, alky piece of shit like you. That woman deserved better.
I am definitely feeling a little bit of both.
I definitely have a tendency to self-sabotage, so when I am particularly stressed out I am always looking for escape routes. Lately I feel anxious in the mornings, but if I keep busy I feel pretty good during the day, and I have been getting enough sleep most nights.
I am aware that I tend to always want to have one foot in the career grave, as it were, because I do have a fear of committing to this all-or-nothing lifestyle that seems to be required for junior faculty. So whenever I hear something awful from my now mostly-faculty friends about how stressful their jobs are, or how their personal lives are suffering because they work so much, I think "Well at least I'm glad I won't be dealing with that." Totally unhealthy, but it's how I'm coping right now.
Part of me still wants to run away, and that part is sending off for catalogs related to things I would do if/when. That part gets really excited about envisioning all the other things I could do now that I couldn't do when I was younger.
And of course there is still the little voice that says, "Well even if you did that now, don't you think it will just turn out to be the same as what you've already done? Won't you just end up in the same place, having the same problems with political bullshit, several more years down the road?"
And I try to tell the voice, "Maybe, but it might also be more fun?"
And then, laughter.
At the end of Buffy, there is that scene where they are standing on the edge of the cliff, and talking about how Buffy will finally get to have a normal life. It's like that. Almost impossible to imagine, but very tempting to imagine nonetheless.
And on the other hand, I am still doing experiments and printing out articles to read and pretending like everything is going along just fine. And in a way, it is. But it can't go on like this forever.