Home » Doctor PMS life » Life is not always easy

Life is not always easy

I am someone that always thought I had very clear goals in my mind. Simply as finding fulfillment in my personal and professional life. Finding the balance it’s never easy, and after sharing my life with someone for a couple of years I realized I left my professional desires behind. Slowly started back on track, still trying not to lose the balance between both. However, after being forced to stay one year in home country due to a denied visa, I felt my time for finding my professional pathway was getting short. Started focusing everything on getting a TT job, and actively avoiding any possibility of finding someone that could lead me out of my professional goals.

I’ve applied for about 15 jobs last year. Didn’t have a single interview. After attending to several job talks at my University I just realized my CV was just not good enough for the positions I applied. No glam publications and no grant or fellowships in the USA. Also, reading on twitter how bad the research funding was, seeing how many junior faculties were struggling to keep going made me think that maybe this life was not for me! I kept thinking that I was going to allow myself to have a personal life again after I got a job, but how long this is going to take? I’m almost 38 and my time to have a family it’s little. Maybe it will never happen, but I still wanted to try… Our R01 is going to finish in January 2015. My PI has retired and now we have a new PI that’s not exactly related to the field. We managed to write a decent proposal for renewal, but as things are so tough out there we have serious concerns about getting the renewal. I told myself I was going to wait until we get the scores to start applying for jobs.

Then, despite all the odds, I found someone. Told myself it was going to be just for fun, that it could never get serious. We were from too different worlds, and he could never move from here. On science you have to be able to move where you find a job, right?  But slowly I started to enjoy his company more than I should. Although it never became an official relationship we started to get closer and closer. It reminded me that work cannot be everything in life. And helped me to avoid thinking about my uncertainties and fears. But he was broken too for his own reasons, and now that we finally broke up I feel like both of us were using the other as an excuse to feel a little better.

Now I feel lost. I’m terrified with the idea of our R01 not being renewed. I believe my CV it’s not good enough to go for a TT job, and I’m not sure anymore if I want the craziness involved. The taste of maybe finding someone to share my life and finally have a family made me think that I’ve been postponing this for way too long. But on the other hand, I look at other alternatives and nothing really appeals to me. Industry scares me because I don’t feel like leaving my research that I’ve been pursuing for  15+ years. Teaching would be nice, but again, I don’t feel like I’ll be happy without the bench. But really? I think that I wouldn’t mind trying something different if I was younger, or if I wouldn’t have to move, to change my entire life around for the unknown. A lot of effort for a possible failure.

People around me just says that I’m focusing on the bad possibilities. That there are many other ways to be happy in life, and I should be excited with possibilities of finding happiness somewhere else, doing something new. But all I can think it’s being scared….

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7 thoughts on “Life is not always easy

  1. I’m scared too. And the thought I keep returning to that I haven’t given into yet is that when the rational fails, all that’s left is the irrational…that’s a hard idea to accept as an academic. Very sorry to hear about your breakup :(.

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    • Exactly! It is so hard to admit the irrational fear, specially for us! And it’s incredible the amount of people that wrote me back telling that they are also scared. Indeed, life is not always easy for anyone, hope that sharing our experiences and fears makes everybody feel better. Breakups are always hard, but everybody needs to know where they want to go first, and then think about share it with someone else. Unfortunately, that was not our case, at least not yet 🙂

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  2. Thanks for posting this. I can really relate to your thought process. However, one think I think I’ve learned is that we’re all a little broken (if you want to call it that), and no partner or relationship is perfect. But we make them perfect for us by giving our hearts to them. It’s like The Little Prince and his rose — he loved his rose not because she was uniquely better for him than all the other roses, but rather because she was the one that appeared on his planet and that he gave his heart to.

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    • I totally agree that we’re all a little broken, and no one is perfect. But truly giving our hearts is not easy, specially that it has to be a two-way path. Supporting each other can be a marvelous thing to do, but the best relationship is the one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. And I’m not sure if that was our case…
      It is very funny that you mentioned The Little Prince, this is one of my favorite books and I recently gave him this book as a birthday present. “Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.”

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      • When you love someone, you need them. And when you need someone, you love them. The relative amounts of love and need in a relationship ebb and flow over time. Our western rugged individualist therapized culture has led us to believe that needing people or needing connection is “neediness,” some kind of personal defect that needs to be overcome. But we are only as needy as out unmet needs. Humans are social animals, and it seems that the need for connection and belonging may be as hardwired in us as any. Needing someone is nothing to be ashamed of, but perhaps something to be celebrated, appreciated, and enjoyed.

        PS – I love The Little Prince too. So many wonderful insights. 🙂

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  3. Thanks for sharing and sorry about your breakup. It’s terrifying that for a successful academic career it seems that everything has to fit perfectly and it you make one small ‘mistake’ it seem impossible to make up for it… I’m not sure that’s true but it can certainly feel that way. Good luck finding your path!

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    • Thanks for your kind words! Yes, I’m not sure if that’s true either, but that’s more unless how I feel. But maybe I have to rethink if that “successful academic career” is really what I want or what it’s best for me now 🙂

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