Because I am in a Ph.D. program, I get this question a lot: “what are you going to do with that?” or “what are you going to do when you graduate?” And, it is a normal question, and one I have probably asked many times to people who mention that they are in a degree-seeking program. What I have noticed lately about myself is that I not only do not have an answer to their question yet, but I also don’t feel an urgency or significant drive to figure out that answer. And, I wonder how much of it has to do with grief…starting with Boris, then with the pandemic and the world shifting, and then with my dad’s declining health and my role as a caregiver.
I have never been extremely ambitious, but I have had a fair amount. I have always had goals and worked hard to achieve them, and I have always been driven. I never aimed for being the very best because it felt too intimidating and scary, plus it would mean I’d need to become a lot more competitive than I am. But, I have always aimed for being really good and achieve success. Career-wise, I have always wanted to be in a position that helps others, and one that felt meaningful to the world. But, right now, I just feel…tired? I feel like I want to work a maximum of 10 hours a week and spent the rest going on walks, watching Netflix, cleaning, eating at great restaurants, traveling, and taking naps with my cat. I just don’t feel a drive to get a really high paying job or do something amazing.
I think I will revisit this topic in a later post, so I don’t really have a big resolution. I just wanted to reflect on this because it feels sort of new to me, and something I maybe should be more concerned about than I am. When Boris died, I think I realized that my life cannot be planned. Plans can shatter in an instant. And then the pandemic added this layer of the unknown…and it shifted how we all think about productivity and what is important. And, my dad’s declining cognition and ability to communicate and participate in daily life has been the icing on the cake for this feeling of…why even bother?