Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Future Self

What advice would I give to myself for the coming year while keeping the me of five years from now in mind?  Just do it.  I know I'm getting repetitive in these posts, and I could blame the prompts, but that probably wouldn't be fair.  The fact is that I have been dreaming of going on sabbatical for a couple of years now.  When I would have a bad day at work, I would imagine what it would be like not to have to go to work.  I would imagine responding to emails with, "I'm sorry.  I am on sabbatical for the year.  You should contact so-and-so."  I was eligible to apply for a sabbatical for this year, but the application was due when we had two mortgages, and year-long sabbatical comes with a pay cut.  I knew I could not apply until we sold our old place.  So, the daydreaming continued.  Then, I spent last summer working on my application.  It didn't take all summer to write, but I thought about it often.  I wanted it, so I worked for it.  And I got it!  Now, my daydreams are about what I will do with it.  I'm applying for grants and fellowships, so I daydream about what I would do if I win any of them.  But I also keep in mind that I do not need any of them to complete my work.

That is why, when I think of myself five years from now, I tell myself to spend the next year just doing it.  Just write.  Read and plan, which I am good at doing, but also write.  I already plan to spend most days of the week writing.  Right now, I have published three articles in peer-reviewed journals and one chapter in a book.  In five years, I can double that.  I can spend the next year laying the foundation for that.  Actually, I expect to more than double that.  I will either have my book done around five years from now or decided to turn it into a series of articles.  And while I am doing this, my husband will finish his dissertation and be writing his own articles or book.  These next few years will be like the recent ones where we support each other in our work.

Bonus: what would I tell the me of ten years ago?  Along the lines of what I just wrote, just do it.  Ten years ago, I was just starting to study for my candidacy exams, and my anxiety was growing.  I would also tell myself to go into therapy rather than waiting until my anxiety was making me physically ill.  I would tell myself to stop worrying about being perfect or right.  I would tell myself that there are people out there who will always criticize me no matter what I do.  But there are also people who like what I do.  And, frankly, most people could care less about what I do, which is a big reason why I should just follow my heart and mind, doing what feels right and opening myself up to the people who support me.

In a nutshell, I would tell the me of ten years ago to get over myself, and I plan to support the me of five years from now by getting over myself as much as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats about the sabbatical! What a great opportunity to create, renew. Do we really want life to go by without doing what is important to us? Just do it. Thanks for the inspiration!