So - school. It's going well, even though I now officially have ONE WEEK to write two research papers, neither of which is in a very good state right now, but that's not what I want to write out right now. :)
I'm trying to figure out which TA-ship I should do next year. And yes, I recognize that it is REALLY NICE to have options. And, as I told my mom on the phone the other day, they are both good options - as in, if some external force made the decision for me, I'd pretty much be ok either way. And as my mom pointed out to me, that means I really can't make a bad decision here - there isn't one. And that's kind of a relief. :)
The thing I'm struggling with is what I am "supposed" to do with my career. For the last few years I have felt like I wanted to go in a certain direction with my career, and that impacted my decision to come to this school, and has impacted my choices of classes and research projects so far. I also feel some sense of obligation to the faculty that I worked with during my masters - they knew my plans and direction when I came here, and I feel a little bit like changing direction would be betraying them and the support they gave and continue to give me. But I also recognize the ridiculousness in that, and that I can't and shouldn't live my life based on what I think my former advisors think I'm doing. :) Or even what they hope I'm doing. I have to live my own life - it'll be a really painful career if I'm doing it based on someone else's interests.
And then there's also this - I took a long time to finish my masters degree, and even though I got to do a lot of really cool stuff during that time, taking that long to finish didn't do happy things for my self-esteem. And part of the reason that it took so long was because I didn't know what I wanted to do at the end of the degree, or even what thesis project I wanted to do during the degree. When I found the topic that ended up becoming my thesis, it was very exciting to me - I felt like I had found my purpose, I had found something that I loved and that I could actually DO, and I
had some direction!! So that topic / research direction / career direction is, I think, very associated in my head with that emotional release and relief of knowing that I had FOUND IT. So the thought of letting go of this direction to maybe try out going in a different direction feels a little bit like a betrayal of myself as well, and a little bit like I'd be letting go of any semblance of control or of the power of a previously-made choice about what direction I'm going, and I also REALLY don't want to reenter that "no man's land" of "I don't know what I'm going to do at end of this degree" feeling, because that feels too much to me like "I have no direction in my life or career" and I've already spent enough time feeling that way and was VERY happy to get out of it.
But in talking to my mom the other day about the options for TAships for next year, and the possible future implications of that choice, I realized that my whole view of my future and of Heavenly Father's plan for me might be wrong.
I realized that I've been feeling like there is some GOAL or PLACE or NICHE TO FILL out there in the wide world somewhere for me, and that it is static, and that I have to make sure that I make the "right" choices, find the "right" path, turn to the "correct" page in the "Choose Your Own Adventure" that is my life, so that I can arrive at that specified place.
But what if that's not really how it is??
It might be that this whole "life" thing and this whole "career" is much more freeform than that, that I really do develop it and form it as I go, and that as long as I don't make any morally incorrect choices, and as long as I involve Heavenly Father in my decisions and follow the promptings that I receive, I won't - can't! - make a wrong decision. Maybe it really is that I just choose as I go along, and rather than feeling like I'm struggling or fighting to find the "right" path, I just create it as I go, and whatever I create is fine.
It's kind of a freeing feeling, and kind of a scary feeling, and I'm trying to try it out to see if I like it. And that's not as easy as it sounds.