September 2011 archive

What Am I Waiting For: A Modern Day Fairy Tale

I have this friend at school, let’s call her B. B is easily one of the smartest kids in my PhD program and is super nice. And she was a total bookworm, putting school over relationships. Last year I consoled her through her first major relationship, which basically meant I kept assuring her what she felt was normal and ok. I’m ok with that because most of the time, what you are feeling is totally fine. Anyway, relationship with first guy ended and she had conflicting feelings about it which she felt terrible about. I listened and told her what she felt was normal and ok and that made her really happy.

Anyway, B and her boo break up. She’s fine with it, we both continue to work on our PhDs. Then one day B comes in my office and tells me she’s met someone and she likes him. He’s also a student but in a different school within our university – actually in religion, which is totally not B’s thing. She also tells me he has a history (read: marriage and a kid). I clutch my pearls, I mean, this would be her second major relationship. But she’s so happy, which makes me so happy. She says “It feels right,” and I smiled. I mean, what would I have said anyway, she was so happy. I keep my doubts to myself.

A few weeks later and her boo is in my office.  Official introductions are made even though we both heard of each other already.  He’s cool, I approve, we joke about baking cookies.

Fast forward a few weeks, and B walks in and announces she is going to marry her new man. I laugh and say “ok.” But the look in face tells me it’s more than an empty assertion, she is going to marry him. “In September.” Uhm, that’s like two months away, but hey, who am I to tell her what to do with her life? They’ve talked it over. She admits that yes, it sounds crazy, which comforts me because at least she gets why I’m giving her the crazy eye s.

She tells me of plans to bring him to meet her parents and how she will meet his parents in the upcoming months. Everything is moving right along. After visiting her parents, they decide to postpone the wedding until December. And even though December is still way within a calendar year of them meeting, this seems much more realistic.  She’s still really happy, there are no problems in love land. I think to myself, this never happens in real life.

Another few weeks and she’s met his mother. Her mother and his mother get along, she loves the family, all is great in the world. She announces that she’s getting married next Tuesday, they’re back on the original time line. In fact, they’ve already filled out the first part of their marriage license paper work. They are ready to go.

I ask what happened, why the change? And her response was so simple, “What am I waiting for?”

In fact, most of the time when we talk about him, she often asked “What am I waiting for?” And I started thinking about my own life. I’ve been mulling around with an idea to write a book but procrastinating on that. At that point, I clearly wasn’t writing the paper that I needed to be writing. I kept putting everything off because I felt like I needed to wait for something (I still have no idea of what I’m waiting on most of the time), but I had to ask myself, what in the world was I waiting for?

I couldn’t think of a good answer, so I got going on what I wanted to to do. Started the book, finished the paper. And it felt good.  And it feels good.

B got married to her boo that next Tuesday. I saw her that Thursday, she was talking to my boss about a paper they were writing together, I couldn’t help but noticed how relaxed she was. I couldn’t contain my excitement and was trying to be cool because I didn’t know who she told, but I busted in and interrupted their meeting.

“So did you do it?”
“Do what?”
“You know, what you said you were going to do on Tuesday?”
“What did I do on Tuesday?”
“Fool, did you get married?!”
“Oh yeah. I got married! (to me) I got married! (to my boss, who just laughed because this scene is now totally ridiculous).

So B got married, I finally turned in my paper (and passed my class, praise baby Jesus) and I’m working on the book, which I’m sure you’ll hear a lot about this year. And we all lived happily every after.


Today I decided to stop worrying.

Today I decided to stop worrying.

All that worrying had gotten me was less peaceful sleep, when I could, and that was starting to mess up my skin and the last thing I wanted to do was start the week with messed up skin. Besides, I had been worrying for a little over two weeks faithfully and nothing was really changing.

I was worried about a paper that I had all summer. In the beginning I thought “Hey I have all summer, I’m going to take a little time to relax and then I’m going to bust this bad boy out.” By July I start thinking “I’d better get cracking on this paper.” Then disaster struck, well disaster by dissertation standards – my results were totally not doing what I wanted them to. I had to go back and check what I had actually done and think about how I can salvage my intro and lit review. Although the paper with the funky data wasn’t the same paper for class, it used the same data set and most of the same variables. Surely my class paper was going to be ruined too.

When I finally stopped worrying, I ran the data for class and that worked out fine. Now to write the paper. Ugh, the hard part. So I started and then came to the part that actually mattered to the class – interpreting odds ratios (aka the results section). This was when worry turned to panic. I began to imagine getting my first F ever in life in grad school. I contemplated dropping the class (but I’ve never been a quitter). Or doing something that is totally logically but that I never do. I asked my friend A for help. After about 5 minutes, I knew what I had to do and turned in the paper. I spent all of labor day weekend working on the paper – aside from a brief break to Saturday Morning Cartoons (hands down the best party of the summer).

I finished the paper around 11:30 on Monday night. Classes for the fall semester start the next day. I turned the paper in and avoided email all morning.

I had finished the paper but turned it in so late could he even give me a grad? Wow e. you’ve really done it this time.

Long story short, he got the paper and I got a B+ in the class (Praise sweet baby Jesus).

On crisis down. Another crisis that had not been solved with worry but with action.

I have another crisis left. Finding a roommate. Yes, I’ve been actively looking for 3 months down. 3 chicks who have confirmed they were moving in and then disappeared later, I have resolved to not solve this problem with worry because it doesn’t help. I’m going to do what I have to do and talk to my landlord on Monday. But I will not spend an entire weekend alone with my worries. No way.