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Under the magnifying glass

This morning I packed up the bug nerd corner.

Nerd corner

I have no idea when, if ever, I'll have another bug nerd corner. That's the uncertainty of life, moving, and academia. While I am feeling more human these days, as a result of not working quite so many 12-hour days in the past week, starting the moving process inevitably dredges up a whole bunch of emotions. This is happening in particular because I will be going from a two-bedroom apartment back to a room in someone else's house. I am going to miss having my own kitchen, even though I know that there can be many rewards to a shared kitchen if one lives with other creative cooks.

There won't be room for the door-desk, so I am at least initially planning on using my sewing machine table as a desk again, which is what I did for a month when I lived with scrottie. But that is forcing me to look again at the pile of creative projects: how to arrange various postcards, stamps, punches, old calendars, sewing supplies, oil paints, and watercolors, so things are both reasonably accessible but able to be put away? Will I even have time for these things in the next phase? I've made some progress on the quilting project, but not nearly as much as hoped.

Packing things for longer-term storage (1-2 years) is also different from packing things for 6-month storage. I don't expect to be able to answer the question of whether or not it is worthwhile to save things for that long.

However, I would say that I am glad to have gotten rid of as much stuff as easily possible. It's just those intermediate and uncertain categories that are hard to scrutinize.

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One of the hardest parts - I am still not applying for any jobs this year. I need to phrase that in an active tense. I am anxiously thinking about it, but despite having some time I have not been updating my website and CV, revisiting my research and teaching statements, or keeping a list of job ads and deadlines. Why am I stalling out? Did I burn myself out too early by trying to apply in previous years? Is it because reference letters feel like a sticking point, given present circumstances? Is it because I don't know how to phrase things about "Berkeley - pending Nov 30"? Is it that feeling that I don't have a broader research vision (even if the state of my ideas is actually on par with peers, which is something I don't know)? Is it that I just can't work up enthusiasm for any of the job ads I've read? Is it that it's exhausting to bash one's head up against this process where there will always be at least 35-40 highly-qualified people applying for one job? Is it the lack of an in-person social support system?

On this last point - more than one person who's made it to the next stage has spoken warmly of they help they received from postdoc peers when applying for jobs - giving practice talks to each other, going over each others' application materials. This has strongly reminded me of how, when I was working on my comps and dissertation, other people spoke warmly of friends and loved ones who cooked for them, kept them fed and housed and clothed. My life and job circumstances just haven't afforded me those kinds of luxuries. Research has kept me locked in the lab too much (especially here!), and who knows whether that's my own damn fault or not, because I know I managed to develop good social supports in Arizona. More likely, it's the lack of adequate time, because it takes more than 9 months to find the right people to be friends.

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