Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Pity Party

I'm acutely unhappy right now, and it's really getting me down.

I'm trapped in my apartment at the moment. You see, my car is in the shop. After a trip this weekend, it started acting funny (but drivable funny). I took it into the Tuffy right by my apartment Monday. A small problem (check engine light randomly flashing at high speeds and staying on at low speeds) turned into a big problem (DPFE sensor caught on fire and took most of the wiring, tubing, and hosing around it). Parts were ordered. The tab comes to $488.79. Hopefully I'll get it back tomorrow.

My friends are all leaving soon. Most within a year. The others work too much to be available. I don't really connect with many of the other grad students in my group, though we get along fine. I'm really worried about suddenly being completely and utterly alone working on my PhD in my home state. I wonder why I didn't consider going elsewhere for this degree. At least then I'd be alone in somewhere "exotic."

I wish I had spent more quality time with my friends doing things that I probably scoffed at then. Lately it's been more important to be out having fun at the moment rather than being excited about whatever it is we do when we're out. I guess that's the big point I should have realized every time I didn't want to do something but did it anyway and ended up having a good time. There was no one around willing to do whatever I thought would be snooty enough to be worthwhile, so I should have still done what was available... In the end, I took for granted the value of just having a good time, regardless of what was going on.

In theory, I really like the research I'm doing. It bridges engineering and biology in a way that I could only dream about. I don't think I'd rather be in a lab nor do I think I'd rather be doing simulations of aerodynamic flow control. In some ways it feels right. But in other ways this atmosphere (common to any graduate program anywhere?) just hasn't been the pick me up that I want it to be. Some of that is me feeling disconnected from it now because I just feel like I'm not productive like I imagined I would be. Maybe it'll get better when I have more to show for it.

I love my parents, I do, but lately I've just felt this disconnect. I don't like them asking questions because I don't have answers. When I go up there to their place, I just want quiet. Really, I'd just like to have peace and quiet outside, on the patio, watching the geese. Yet when I do that I feel like I'm wasting time. So again, there's something here related to the work. I know that they can see this in my face. Mom will ask me if I'm okay and every time I say nothing and simultaneously feel even worse because she's asking me. My suit jacket alterations for the outfit I'm wearing to Mark's wedding were done today, so she stopped by to drop it off since I have no car. And... I felt so awful for not being more receptive.. But... I just didn't know what to be. Before she came over I wanted to tell her about new things that have been happening that I've been quiet about... But while she was here... Nothing came out. Now she's driving all the way back to her place. I know they worry... I just wish they knew that I knew that and I was glad for that. I'm sure they do...

Efforts to salvage any of this currently have a grim outlook.

A friend of mine who doesn't really know I feel this way asked me recently if I would take a quarter off after he graduated (between school and work) so that we could try to win a Roadtrip Grant for Roadtrip Nation. I really think it's a good idea. For some reason, it just seems like something that would help, but I have no idea how I'd make it work. Taking a quarter off? Can I just do that? I suppose so... I just wonder how the funding would work... Maybe it's something worth looking into.

I always tried to be very principled to live a life that was uniquely mine that I could be proud of. Looking back on that pride has suddenly left me thinking that 25 is going to be the end of the world. What am I doing here? How could I have put myself into this place where I'm not happy being successful and I'm utterly destroyed by being unsuccessful? How could this possibly end well? It's not that I don't know what I want to do. Nor is it that I want to do everything and am having a hard time choosing. I just feel so upset that I have to do something.

So yeah... I'm acutely unhappy. This summer doesn't feel like a BREAK. It feels like a big slot of time that gives me no excuse not to be really really productive. When I'm not, this summer feels really disappointing.

Alright, this is a mess. I need some lunch and to do some reading before the 9am meeting tomorrow morning. I won't have a car tomorrow morning, so a friend of mine who has no reason to wake up that early has agreed to give me a ride to it. That's the meeting where I'll see my adviser, and he'll probably want some status updates... All sorts of fun there.

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