Digital Photograph by Matt Stidham
I knew I'd feel this way, to some extent. You don't pour your heart and soul into something for four straight years, turn it in, and then simply go back to life as you knew it. I knew there'd be a period of feeling aimless and grieving the end to the process. What vocational purpose I had in life (beyond this particular part of getting fit) is somewhat diminished. For four years I have called myself a PhD student and when asked what I do, I had something to say.
Now? I have no idea. Given the current state of theology/religion departments in the UK, chances of me finding a job in academia are pretty slim. So I find myself facing the prospects of blazing new trails, working freelance, writing and doing informal education - but such a possibility feels a bit overwhelming right now.
There's a part of me that's tired of being a pioneer. It's always been my default. I feel like I am always fighting against the current, doing things differently, taking the road less traveled by. Despite the positives of such action, I'd like to travel in someone else's slipstream for just a little while. I really don't have the energy for whacking through all the brambles and undergrowth, clearing a bit of earth, and building something new right now.
There's too much unknown. I don't know if my dissertation will be passed by the examiners (my defense is in December). I don't know yet if my current job will continue beyond the end of the year. I don't know where I'll be living 6-12 months from now. And after all these years of preparing, I don't know if the world wants what I've got to give if I did go my own way.
All of this, as a result, takes its toll on my efforts to be healthier. Over the last three weeks, the scale has been as up and down, bobbing along as I have. 281.6, 278.2 and today's 280.
I'm eating good stuff (for the most part), but just too much. And I have determined that I am definitely a binge eater. That has become apparent in the last 3 months. And I am going to the gym, but not enough (about once a week so far). I'm not recording, I'm not keeping track, I'm not counting. And so I'm not seeing results.
I decided to go back and look at where I was a year ago on this here blog and I found something interesting. Roughly this time last year, I wrote a post about priorities that was an attempt to kick myself in the tail and get back in gear.
Is there a pattern here? Is October my "drift" month? Is the waning daylight connected to my despondency (aka "lack of courage and umph")? It's totally plausible. Add on top of that this period of life I'm in and it's no wonder I'm struggling.
So maybe this is an opportunity to start fresh, to wipe the slate clean, to make a new schedule for myself and see what rises to the surface after a few weeks. I want to be gentle with myself, acknowledge this place of life that I am in, sit with it and not try to make myself busy in order to gloss over it. But I also know I can't sit with it indefinitely. Eventually I need to act.
So today I'm going to spend the day figuring out a schedule, making a list of priorities and what needs to get done work-wise, figure out how to map some ideas I have, and see what happens. I may also change my weigh-in days to Wednesdays. Sundays just aren't working for me, really.
Will let you know how I get on.