Stephanie Burgis
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Sorry for the lack of journal entries lately--it was a bit too embarrassing for me to even contemplate writing journal entries at work last week, since the receptionist's computer was completely public, facing everyone who came in or out of the office. I'm back to PhD-student life this week, though... Whew.

This year is turning out to be my toughest balancing act so far. In the past two years, I've had to balance fiction writing, the never-ending monstrosity that is Thesis Research, and of course writing the thesis itself (plus the odd conference paper and travel grant, of course). Now, not only has article-writing shot up a rung on the ladder of priorities, but job-hunting has become a major issue, and one that takes up WAY more time and energy than I'd expected. (Dumb me.) Not to mention the time worrying about the job hunting... ;p (Well, maybe I shouldn't give that last activity too much priority.)

Anyway, it's hard to work out a healthy balance--thus the great quantities of stress lately. There are a couple of things I've managed to figure out, though. I can't cut back on my fiction writing, no matter what else I'm trying to squeeze in. I've done that before, when I felt guilted into making that my last priority, and it made me miserable, burnt-out and resentful. I can't cut out home life--the few hours in the day I get to hang out with Patrick and Nika together and recharge my batteries in every possible way. I can't survive without that. Everything else is, to some degree, negotiable. Part of that means admitting that I am not going to achieve a high-flying, intense career. Part of that means admitting that I never really wanted one--I just felt that I should. But I still have to do what it takes to get a decent career, one that's satisfying to me, and one that pays a decent-enough salary that we can pay off my student loans and maybe even do something wild and crazy like buying a house at some point, or having kids.

In other words, I'm going through the usual angst that everybody goes through when they finish up their education/training and confront the rest of their lives. It's just that, being an academic, it's taken me ten years of university to get this far!

So, apart from navel-gazing...

It was a really good weekend. I went jogging on Saturday, running through a beautiful forest with yellow leaves and a cool breeze, while Patrick and Nika followed at a more reasonable pace (and I occasionally dropped behind, panting, to join them). We went to Bolton Abbey yesterday for a two-and-a-half hour hike. We finished the very last episode of Buffy, Season 7, on Friday (sigh), and made the slight tactical error of starting to watch Firefly on Saturday. ("Wait! That man can't be the hero! He was a Bad Guy! And there--that guy was a vampire, and that one was a demon! Aaah!") We re-watched the first episode as well as the second last night, to try to regain some perspective. It's very fun so far. And I finished Chapter Four of Music of the Stars on Saturday, started Chapter Five today, and am feeling amazingly good about it.

Life is pretty good right now.

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