Today and just today

It has been too long. I apologise. 

I have had a manic 6 weeks of deadlines, workshops and conferences. I have had to organise events, write papers, suss out my own PhD progress, and make a lot of train journeys (I’m not getting on a train for a while now…). 

I’ll try and write about each thing in the next few weeks – how to write a conference paper, what conference etiquette is etc. But for now I need to focus on the calm after the storm. 

I’ve been ‘doing’ lots of academia. I’ve been meeting lots of academics. I’ve been hearing a lot of ‘how to make it’ in the world where ‘impact’ is the only thing that counts. To be honest, I’ve been getting a little disillusioned. 

What if I made a mistake and this whole PhD thing isn’t ‘me’? What if I’m about to commit myself to a life of long hours, relentless deadlines and full diaries? What if I want a normal life? What if I want a family down the line? What if I leave academia, could I ever clamber back in? What can I publish? How do I get published? These questions swirl madly like the washing machine that has been on the go for the past couple of days due to the gorgeous summer sunshine. 

But on the weekend, in a completely different context, I got some great advice. I’m so grateful for friends who are willing to skip small-talk and get to the depths of the feeble ‘how are you?’ question. I’m so grateful for the way one friend in particular, exposed what I’d turned academia into – a god, an authority, a ‘be all and end all’. I’m so grateful for the way she grounded me back in the reality of life which is meant to be lived, and time off which is meant to be TIME OFF (I am bad at checking emails when I shouldn’t). I’m so grateful that actually, academia really does not matter. 

So, in the words of my friend, today I will live today. And tomorrow can worry about itself.