I am sitting here on a Friday in mid-February. Ideally, I should be reading my assigned readings for classes. In truth, my brain is screaming for a break. It wants to relax with fiction and poetry, and then get up again to seek out its own will for how it will be stretched and tested again. In other words, my brain is not especially interested in performing the task of assigned reading. This is pretty typical. It was the story of my previous college years. The subject matter is not what I am averse to. I love the subject matter. I will read the subject matter until I die. It’s the notion that my brain is being asked to focus on this particular reading at this particular time, and report back that particular finding at that particular time.
I need to take a break for a couple of hours and be alone with my thoughts, and possibly God, if God cares to stop by.
This afternoon, I am having a conversational call with a recruiter about the old work I used to do.
It has been making less and less sense to me for why I would be here. I am a forty-year-old man with a very young son, and I am in a grad school program where I will at best hope to be making what I was making six years ago by the time I retire. Meanwhile, if I could, in fact, pick up my career again where I left off with it, I could very well be making a six-figure salary in the next year or so.
Believe me, I am guilty about putting so much focus on money, with the love of money being the root of all evil. I am also guilty about having made the decision to come down here in the first place and put my wife in the position of being sole breadwinner while my son still goes off to daycare full-time (as he would have anyway if I were working full-time), so I can sit, and read and contemplate and think about academic things.
There is enough guilt to spare in any decision that gets made. It is going to be shameful for me to make the decision to uproot us again and put us into the only housing we’ll be able to find down here which will be significantly farther away from my wife’s work and son’s daycare. It is shameful that I have selfishly brought us down here only to ascertain after so many conversations and psych evaluations that I will never be successful at what I am here learning to become. The alternate route of deciding to be a pure academic and go for a PhD doesn’t particularly appeal to me much, anymore, either. The prospects of getting anywhere with that before I am 50 are pretty grim.
There will be, of course, no shame once we are settle again, and I have bowed my head and accepted that I am unexceptional and need to be schlepping it up in an average 8-5 office until I can retire. There will be no shame then, because then I will be like any other average American guy–or really any man throughout history–I will be just doing what I have to do to make sure my family survives and thrives.
I don’t feel a strong sense of being pulled any particular direction, anymore. It is my nature to get excited about something for a little while and then drop it for a little while. I could stay on here, and wait for the early thrill I felt about being on a higher, mystical path to come back. Perhaps I will. But, I am not feeling especially mystical, anymore, these days, I am feeling raw and practical–just gotta do what I gotta do.