The past few weeks have gone by extremely fast but at this point I’m at the end of my doctoral journey. It’s been a long six years and I can’t believe that I have been in school consistently since 2008. That’s an entire decade of my life that I can’t get back. I haven’t even decided to real if it’s been worth it. However, I think that so far it has. I’ve had the opportunity to work full time and live in multiple places while working on my education. But now it’s time to make new goals as the ink on the new initials after my name continue to dry. I need to find something meaningful and while traditionally I’ve found that in education, I’m open for a change. If I’m being honest, I’d love to spend some dedicated time addressing my rotted carcass of a love life but that could be problematic and it isn’t a guaranteed win. It’s a hope. Needless to say, I have to fill my time with other things than school at this point. It’s going to be weird not having a paper due or assignments to complete. Right now my focus is on my job search and figuring out where I’ll be living next. I want to enjoy the feeling of completing the highest degree that one can earn but it just feels somewhat hollow at this point. It’s not a letdown but it’s just weird. I want to start writing more on a creative basis and I’ve been doing better so far this year with making in-person connections with people. I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect and have already traveled to Europe once this year. I would love to do more traveling but most of all I think I also want a real “home base” for once. Like an actual home/apartment where I live permanently. I want my life post-PhD to involve getting settled down at some point and moving to a different chapter that could possibly include marriage and kids. However, it’s going to take a huge shift in focus and being deliberate in creating the life that I want. I’m determined but I need to plan so that I know the next thing I’m working towards. I have to fill this empty space of time.
I must admit that living in the metro area of a city known for its traffic has been quite the adjustment. While I prefer it to sliding along the highway in a blinding snowstorm, allowing a minimum of an hour to go places can be inconvenient. Currently I work about 30 miles from where I live. Without traffic (and speeding) I can make it from work to my house in about 25 minutes. However, in the instances that there is traffic I’ve (by trial and error) to allow at LEAST an hour and half to make the journey. As I was sitting in traffic (literally not moving), I thought about how much you have to prepare ahead while driving. If your exit is coming up you have to start the process of begging and cutting in to make it all the way over to the right hand lane. It’s all about planning ahead and putting yourself in a position that makes it easier to make it to your destination without any additional stress. In life things rarely go according plan (hard lesson to learn by the way), but I’ve learned that sometimes the detours provide the best scenery and give you experiences you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t forced to get off the beaten trail. Yes, it may take longer but there’s a lot of value in appreciating the journey on the way to your destination.
We all have dealt with discipline at some point in our lives. Whether it was an authority figure establishing boundaries or finishing a an assignment that was due the next day, discipline was involved. When children are born we task the parents with providing the discipline needed in order to ensure that they are well-behaved. We expect parents to enforce boundaries so we aren’t inconvenienced by the child throwing a tantrum in the grocery store. As we grow older it is expected that we live with a level of discipline that fits within societal norms. We get up everyday and go to school or work like clockwork. We systematically save in order to put a decent down payment on a house so that we can get a lower rate. This is pretty standard discipline. However, there’s the daily discipline that goes beyond daily norms. It’s the kind of discipline that many people never bother to attain because it requires a certain mindset where your wants take a backseat to your larger goals. This means that sometimes you have to do what’s best for you despite the fact that it goes against what you want. You have to tell yourself “it’s for your own good” and make hard decisions instead of those that are emotionally based. You make hard choices about relationships that are going nowhere. You leave the familiar in order to make room for something else. You recognize opportunities and take them. You don’t let distractions take you away from what you know needs to happen and what you ned to make happen. This is the mark of a mature adult. The ability to plan long term and consistently work toward something with a single minded purpose instead of settling for short term items and smaller wants means that you’ve grown to be more disciplined. That’s a good thing.