Monday, February 5, 2007

Helloooooo??? Motivation??

I'm starting to wonder if balance in one's life is something worth even pretending to strive for. It's certainly something I've yet to achieve.

To give you a little perspective, let me take you back in time to late summer and fall 2006. I was in the midst of probably the most stressful few months in my life. I was on a tight, tight deadline to finish off my Masters thesis by December in order to prevent losing a rather nice whack of funding for my PhD, which I was becoming increasingly convinced that I would honestly have to give up. I was working until 3am nearly every single day. I had gotten to the point where I wouldn't even stop typing when I'd have a mini-breakdown-- I would just cry while nonstop running statistics. I had ended a six year relationship with a man I had been convinced for a long time was the one I was genuinely going to spend my life with after coming to some pretty profound realizations that challenged a lot of what I had taken for granted to be the truth. I was as broke as I had ever been, as I suddenly had my bills doubled and had to buy a lot of new furniture. I lived on my friends' couches for about a month, and felt like I was pretty constantly fighting off a variety of sicknesses.

Yet, despite my life seemingly falling apart, I still had motivation. It was almost good to envelop myself completely in something. I felt so proud when people at school were shocked that so much was going wrong in my life, because I was able to pull off the impression that I had everything under control. I somehow defended my thesis without a hitch.
(As a side note, I also had a lot of other good realizations during this time... I discovered that a lot of my friends are truly loyal and amazing folk who will stick by me. I also discovered that sometimes what you have been searching for in the wrong area of your life is just waiting around the corner. Sorry if that sounded ridiculously Hallmark-ey.)

Now, things are arguably working in the opposite direction. I have finally got a regular source of income coming in. I am having a ridiculous amount of fun with my friends. I feel the prettiest I have in ages. I am in the midst of falling head over heals for someone who (as far as I can tell) feels the same and who sees me at a more genuine level than I think my ex ever did. I love living by myself and feeling independent, and will be moving into a new (and memory free!) apartment based on completely selfish motivations and interests soon.

But still.... where has my motivation gone? I find my mind wandering when I try to focus on all the things I should be focusing on. It's like pulling teeth to stay focused more than a few hours. I find myself dreading doing more than the required amount of work. I get a little depressed that after working so hard to get my Masters, nothing in my professional/educational life has changed... I'm still forced to work on just as much. I'm also down that I had no time between finishing that awful semester and starting this new one-- no big shiny reward other than, of course, a wonderful sense of accomplishment *sarcasm intended*
Now, given my ridiculously high levels of expectations for myself, this does need to be put into perspective. I am usually the most self-motivated person ever and I am still getting all my required work done. Just not much more. And, given the demands of this program, that isn't enough. I should be working harder on my manuscripts. I should be trying harder to get more clinical experience. I should be getting things done more in advance. That's why I'm where I'm at now-- because I followed all these shoulds.

I swear I have no internal motivation left. I know that after all that's happened lately, I really deserve a break. Sadly, that isn't in the cards-- and that's just the reality of the situation. It's also sad that I have this lingering sense of guilt when I should really just be enjoying myself.


Ant said...

Take the break. Even if you can't afford it, pull whatever strings you can to make it happen - I can't overstate the importance of going somewhere else, anywhere else, when you're feeling in the funk that you describe...

cinemec said...

Don't look at me... I dropped out!

Princess Pointful said...

Ant- How I wish I could follow your advice *wistful sigh*. I totally agree with you on principle- I think a little free time to explore without needing to fit it into any sort of relevant academic framework would seriously do wonders for me right now. I really need a little time to free my mind.
However, without going into too much boring detail... I have a nice PhD grant which is my only source of living expenses right now, and anything more than something squeezed in between my regular grad school duties is thus a big no-no. I'm also back enrolled in classes, which even missing one can be disastrous. I'm thinking of what I may be able to squeeze in between work duties in the summer.

Cinemec- Is that advice? ;)

Tonya said...

dont' stress about it. Life happens like that with ebbs and flows. before you know it you will suddenly become motivated again. the trouble with type-a's like you and me is that we don't know how to enjoy our downtime enough because we are human doings rather than human beings sometimes. :)

Pie! said...

Take yourself to the spa! It won't take you away from school and such that you'll be worrying about everything, but it will give you a bit of a break from everything that's hindering your motivation. It'll be a nice lil treat!

That, or go bungee jumping. =)

Princess Pointful said...

Tonya- If a Type A like you can say not to worry, then maybe I should really let it go. I'm just not used to not being super-duper driven!

Pie- I actually think that is a superb idea! I got my first manicure ever the day before my MA defense, and it was glorious. Next paycheck I should look into that.
I am far too much of a stress case to go bungee jumping. My nervous system would simply explode.

eric1313 said...

Michelle had a post about the same thing. Everyone talks about how one MUST have balance in their life, and it can be acheived, but impossible to keep.

Life is a serious of regaining balance.

(You may have inadvertantly met one source of my inspiration!)
(Yes, your smile that day was correct. But I'm her student, and her co-workers are jealous penises who will get her fired if possible. Women professors ARE held to different standards than men. She's completely respectable, kind and intelligent and more wrthy of her job than any of them, and we had to go our own ways. That's what love really means, and the tripe about letting go. It's painfully true. At least I can read her and visit if I wish, but I don't visit. It only causes problems with said inflammed penises who she has to deal with daily) (shhhh!)

eric1313 said...

meant 'series of regaining balance'.