Time is one of those strange things of which I always seem to have too little or (on rare occasion) too much. It’s almost impossible to find the baby bear’s schedule, in which it’s all juuuuuust right.
A year ago, I was starting a new postdoc. Then I had the problem of too much time – or rather too little to fill it. As is so often the case, there were components and methods that needed to be established – the sort of things where you work for a couple of hours and then wait 18 more. I would read papers and organize lab areas, but I could only stand so much.
Over the past six months, I have been juggling experiments alternately with grants, manuscripts, or seminar presentations. Now I have more experiments than I have time, energy, or brain power to do. That’s OK: I’d rather have too much to do so long as, on the whole, I like where I’m at and what I’m doing. Over the past year, I have settled into my new lab and have become more like my old self, the one who is engaged, collaborative, opinionated and occasionally sassy. I am beginning to feel hopeful about my career again, as though it’s on the mend.
There are still days when research sucks, when nothing seems to work, getting data from experiments is like trying to squeeze blood out of turnip, and I just want to scream at the cells and instruments. There are many days that I wish I had more time (or minions) so I could do more. With the amount of work I’m juggling, sometimes a ball drops—some experiment is postponed, the apartment isn’t cleaned as well as I’d like, my husband and I forfeit a day together…
Mostly, it is my writing here that has been suspended. I still love to write and love the community I found while doing it. I have no intention of going anywhere, but this is one of my hobbies, a guilty pleasure in some regards. But for it to remain so, the writing cannot be a burden, cannot be forced. Eventually things may settle down or I may learn to manage it all better. I may not be doing everything I want to, but in the end, I’m doing so much that I do want to that I’m trying to enjoy what I’ve got.