This month I am attempting to participate in the #reverb10 - “an open online initiative that encourages participants to reflect on this year and manifest what’s next. It’s an opportunity to retreat and consider the reverberations of your year past, and those that you’d like to create in the year ahead”. So, I’m going to give it a whirl…
Today’s prompt is to encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
My word to encapsulate 2010 for me would be acceptance.
The last few years have been crazy waiting for Dave to graduate with his PhD. Each new semester brings new hope of graduation and moving forward with life - buying a home, having kids, having enough money to start my Master’s degree… but each semester has ended in disappointment and an extended timeline. This cycle got really old after three years. In the past year I began to dig deeper to understand the graduation process and to better understand what Dave was going through trying to finish school. It turned out that this process really sucks for him, too, and I certainly wasn’t helping his stress by constantly asking when he was going to be done.
In my learning adventure I discovered that getting a PhD through research has no definitive timeline. Experiments don’t go as planned, equipment breaks, other people in the research group are using the same equipment to do different projects and all of these things contribute to the delay of graduation. There is no step 1, 2, and 3 to being done. It is all about getting the results you said you would, contributing to scientific knowledge (as evaluated by a committee of highly esteemed faculty), and getting other scientists to accept your research. This takes time - an indefinite amount of time.
So this year, through better understanding, I have come to accept that there is no certain finish line for this PhD and that I need to get comfy where I am, because I could be here for a while, and that is OK. I accept that every day is one step closer to the unknown finish line and that my husband is doing all he can (within his power) to be done as soon as possible. I have stopped feeling sorry for myself, stopped asking when this will all be over and have tried to encourage my extended family (also anxious for Dave’s graduation) to also stop asking about when this will be over - Dave doesn’t need the stress or pressure from any of this, because this is hard enough on him already. I accept that this is my life right now and I’m OK with it.
One year from now I would love for the word to encapsulate 2011 to be progress. I would love for Dave to graduate, for Dave get a job that he will love, for us to buy a house and start planning for a family. If we’re not there by this time next year, it will be all right. Our time is coming. But for now, we accept where we are and are excited for progress… eventually.