Two orthopaedic surgical fellows and a biomedical engineer, PhD. Three men discussing research, introducing themselves, when the topic of marriage comes up.
Specifically, all the research the fellows would like to get done before their spouses arrive in Research Town. And the discussion of the shift from singleminded, single-ness facilitated, pursuit of research pre-significant-other. The good old days, the 50-papers-a-year now deferred. Much wistful sighing ensued.
This conversation kindles a twinge of pain in my conflict and guilt-induced scars from grad school. And makes me wonder why I’m not taking better advantage of this spouse-deprived time to cram in ridiculous 70-hour weeks. Or even more reasonable 50-hour weeks for that matter. What is wrong with me?
Perhaps I’m not strong enough, not determined enough. Perhaps I wasted all that time and those guilty working nights and weekends in grad school to become an adequate, unambitious paperwork filler-outer and data processor. I did only get my masters after all, I suppose that’s the stereotypical end goal, PhDs run the show and MS folks come up with clever Matlab code and such? Actually, at my current institution I am FORBIDDEN by rules to even be listed as a project PI.
And I’m not a PI. There just *isn’t* as much for me to do – I don’t need to come up with ALL the ideas, or run the lab, or sell my soul to the research gods. I have duties to do and I do them, plus additional reading and studying and outreach volunteering on the side. I do this all in approximately 40 hours a week, 45 with the bit of studying in the evenings. And I am LOVING the opportunity to train hard again. And to have time to cook and clean and draw and read and sew and watch Netflix while I relax or stretch or do PT.
So I don’t know. I don’t know what the “right” thing to do is. I don’t know if I could be better if I worked harder, or if I’d be better enough that it would matter. Or if it would even make me happy to be slightly more accomplished or smarter or more ambitious. I remember how guy-wrenching the non-existent balance was to strive for, and consistently lose.
I do know I’m enjoying where I’m at and I cannot wait to spend most of my evenings and weekends simply living life with my MountainMan.