out with the old
The decade started with a a flood. I finally passed my quals. I got my first grant, to Indiana, of all places. While I was gone Mike called me to ask what items on the first floor he should move to the attic because the area was getting evacuated for flooding. I spent all my mileage points on a trip to the Philippines.
Our family was struggling. We made the heartbreaking decision to leave our church. I got a job as a tech writer for a local brewery. I resigned after two months. Progress on my dissertation stalled. Minime was starting to show signs of depression and anxiety. We bought a new house and couldn’t unload the old house.
I floundered for the next two years. Temping, parenting, picking at the dissertation, beating myself up for not making more progress and not contributing to the family income. Making my family miserable. Minime and I got into a huge fight so I adopted a cat for her. I’m allergic to cats.
Landed what I thought was my dream job but turned out to be a nightmare of a mismanaged and dysfunctional sh!tshow. Learned a lot. Made great friends and professional contacts. Listened to a lot of podcasts.
Left nightmare job for another horrible job at a mind-numbing, soul-crushing cubicle farm, working the night shift. With the shorter commute and literal hours of free time, wrote my second chapter which my adviser said was the best writing I’d ever done since starting the program. Channeled all my unhappiness into running or swimming six days a week and added another part-time gig at a local museum to my schedule. Home life continued to be stressful. MInime went away to college. So I adopted a puppy.
Finally a job close to home and in my field opened up. I get along well with my boss and I can continue my professional and academic pursuits. I finally graduated and am trying to figure out how to disseminate my research. I joined a fitness club and was lifting and packing abs underneath the bóy-on that gives me that nice Lola-esque pear shape.
Then the pandemic.
And that was my forties. So much in the previous paragraphs needs to be unpacked, but suffice to say that the feelings of captivity and hopelessness that pervaded my forties have been replaced by restlessness and anticipation. It’s a bit twisted that just when I am feeling more emotionally and mentally resilient my body is starting to give in to wear and tear.
Also when I got into my car today it said I had a birthday coming up. I said out loud, “How do you know that?!” which is such an older-lady thing to say but I’m not really used to my car yet and I should get used to the occasional older-lady sayings that are inevitably going to pop out of my head.