Monday, September 09, 2019

what's my motivation

So, four of the five or six important areas of my life (family, friends, work, church) have suffered some kind of major upheaval in the past six weeks.

what remains: my health and my hobbies (if those are separable, and if hobbies are enough to count as an area)

Health, frankly, I'm wondering if THAT'S just because I haven't had to have a check-up recently. Because I vacillate between figuratively cowering in a corner and wondering what I'll be hit with next that I'll have to deal with, and sheer incandescent rage at a universe that is either so bizarrely random that this many bad things could line up at once, or is malevolently acting.

Right now the rage - that Hell no, you're not going to beat me - is what's winning. It's what got me out of bed this morning and through a 40 minute workout (was going to do 45 but my hip started griping me) even though I didn't sleep quite long enough.

But rage can also be counterproductive, I know.

Tonight is CWF. I will probably be asked to ask the blessing on the food. I am not sure if I can do it. Because yes, right now I am angry, and that includes being low-level angry at God. And yes, I know, I have read some theodicy and heard all the conventional platitudes but I am still angry that I have been so discombobulated by life but am still expected to keep going forward, slap a dumb smile on my face, work on research that is now meaningless to me, and wonder what' coming next (Will the new university president we get decide we will be an all-online school? Will there be some other huge change that will lead to me leaving this job or academia altogether?)

And worse, Wednesday night is the board meeting where we begin to address what to do about the minister leaving in October (or earlier; I could see the board voting to just can him right now, stranger stuff has happened) and because I'm Head Elder, I fear they will look to me for some wisdom, and I have literally no wisdom right now. I am tired and angry and frankly if they press hard I will suggest the "nuclear option" I've been contemplating every time this happens....that it's time we disband, scatter, and people either find other congregations to join, or just....not join a new one.

Because I'm sick and tired and angry about being leaned on, all the time, and when I need to be left alone and be quiet, I can't be, because everyone somehow thinks I know the answers and I don't, because really there *are* no answers, there is just "do, and hope it's not horribly wrong."

What I really want? Just to go somewhere and be taken care of for a couple of weeks. To get up in the morning and either asked what I want for breakfast, and have it appear, or just have the right breakfast for me then show up on the table. And be somewhere cool enough and nice enough to go for long walks instead of pushing on an exercise machine. And someone to sit with me and tell me funny or nice stories while I knit. And to do my laundry for me, and keep the place clean, and not expect me to make any decisions or do anything other than what I want to do....but of course, I won't get that, almost no one gets that.

The other motivation carrying me now is frankly mercenary. As I said, my research doesn't matter much to me right now. I'm doing it because I'm expected to to keep my job. It doesn't really bring me joy any more - it feels very futile - because who cares about soil invertebrates? They won't stop a school shooting or cure a disease or knowing details about their population sizes won't fix the environment. I am doing it solely because it's part of my job and if I could give it up I would. (I know people who took early retirement and came back as adjuncts because that meant they could just teach without being expected to do committeework or research. Of course, you have to have the pension coming in or a spouse making good money because you cannot live on adjunct wages, and it's even questionable if it's worth doing it for the teaching). And I don't even feel, some days, like my teaching makes much of a difference. So right now, it's the paycheck I'm doing it for, for keeping a roof over my house and food on the table and yes, that's kind of joyless, but sometimes you just have joyless seasons in life that you have to power through on sheer rage or stubbornness.


The only other thing that is carrying me along today is imagining the Afterlife is some kind of happier, less-cursed timeline than the one in which we live. So, somewhere, my father is hiking through the mountains and maybe talking geology with his friend Art and the couple of students who 'went on before' him. And Charles is setting off on one of his beloved road trips, unencumbered with the walker that he had taken to calling "the device."

(I had a dream a few nights ago about my dad, where we were sitting around in the old living room back in Hudson, and he made some comment about "My knees are fine now, look" and he stood up and walked easily across the room. And in the dream I told myself "this has to be a dream" but I didn't wake up right then because....well, I willed myself not to, to keep the suspension of disbelief going).


Also this week is probability in Stats, and it's also the anniversary week of the Sept. 11 attacks, and I remember I was teaching probability back then when it happened, and I remember feeling like....what's the point any more? Why teach them probability when not even the rules of random chance seem to rule the universe any more? And I remember thinking, I should be teaching them basic first aid instead, and what wild plants are edible, and how to do things like make a yeast culture (for baking bread) from the thin air, because that's where we will be in a few months. And no, that did not come to pass (though I haven't baked bread in over a year) but still....September 11, 2001, did steal something from me I have never yet gotten back, and every time I open Zar to chapter 5 I groan inwardly and kind of wish I could skip that section. (It doesn't help that Zar's probability chapter is probably his weakest chapter, and doesn't present stuff the way I want it presented)

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