A week after I accepted my academic job offer, I started thinking about one of the courses I would teach in fall of 2023. Omg, how should I structure this course? What learning objectives and assignments should I plan out to ensure that it runs smoothly? Omg I haven’t taught this yet what am I doing?? Most of my internal dialogue focused on my lack of experience teaching this particular course and my desire to put in work now to make sure it goes well.
At some point, I paused and practiced cognitive defusion. What type of thought am I having? A planning thought. When I labeled my thought as such, I reminded myself that I literally do not have to teach this course for eight more months and that I still have several months to plan. Why not celebrate even just securing this job instead? After walking myself through my thought process, I felt calmer, more relaxed, and more ready to enjoy my day
aka prancing around to “Hype Boy” by NewJeans and basking in the glory of my close friendships while feeling unbothered that I have not men a man who’s sustained my interest yay.
While some of my tendency to plan stems from my temperament or personality, I think a solid chunk of it originates from my childhood trauma. Throughout my youth, I always plotted about how I would escape my abusive mother, such as by looking at my dream college’s website and reading many forums and books about how to get into college. This level of planning did help me get into college, and to this day planning aids me in getting tasks done without much stress. However, in line with the core principles of psychodynamic therapy, sometimes we develop coping mechanisms earlier in our lives that no longer serve us as adults. Now that I’m outta my childhood home, I don’t really need to always plan every single moment, even if I feel drawn to do so. Yesterday one of my best friends retweeted the below tweet that relates to this topic:
When I saw this tweet, I thought, wait a second, I have done things! This year, I published my dissertation and several other papers in peer-reviewed journals, matched at H*rvard Med School for residency, moved out of the mid-Atlantic for the first time and relocated right near the Charles River in Cambridge Massachusetts, started residency and have made it almost halfway through, and secured a tenure-track job. On a more personal level, in March of this year I reunited with my long-term therapist L and realized a lot of things about myself and my past and wrote some blog posts about that whole encounter I feel pretty proud of, I maintained and strengthened my close friendships, and I feel like I’m at a great place in terms of my own mental health. Even though I stopped seeing my second long-term therapist around June, I’ve continued implementing a lot of what I’ve learned in therapy both on the receiving and giving end, some of which I’ve hyperlinked in this post.
All in all, I feel like I’m thriving
even though I was definitely barely surviving during the heinous job market application process, that was probably even worse than dating and then marrying a mediocre man out of adherence to amatonormativity, yikes. I think being a more femme queer person of color comes into play here too; like, I’ve noticed sometimes people with multiple marginalized identities feel pressure to work even harder or to push themselves to prioritize external accomplishments more than those with privileged identities. Which makes sense given racism, homophobia, femmephobia, etc. At the same time, I’m privileged and strong enough with my boundaries that I’m gonna keep doing my thing, at my pace, with my own values in mind and no one else’s.
What helps you pause, reflect, and celebrate your own accomplishments and growth? Any tips or tricks you use to slow down and honor the moment instead of jumping into the next task or activity? General reactions to this post? Wow it’s wild that 2022 is coming to a close! My next post will most likely be my annual top ten books one. Also, random but not random, “Hype Boy” by NewJeans is the best song ever like?? Ugh I’m so excited for “OMG” coming out January 2 just like I came out in high school! Anyway until next post yay.
7 responses to “Wait a Second”
I love that you figured out how to press the “pause” button and evaluate what was going on. I’ll need to learn that technique. I remember when I started my corporate career, my parents told me to work twice as hard as others and because I’m Chinese Canadian, I will be judged differently. People today will chuckle at that but my parents faced discrimination and were worried that I would. When I read this entry, I wish I had the wisdom then to slow down a bit and figure out what I can do to enrich my career and not let my company set my boundaries.
This was such a thoughtful entry.
I hope 2023 will bring you lots of joy, peace and wisdom. Take care!
Hitting the pause button – so important though it can take time to learn and become more of an automatic practice. I appreciate what you share about your parents’ experiences of discrimination; the chuckling reaction is a bit odd to me because people of color and marginalized groups generally do experience discrimination that shapes their experiences. Thanks for this thoughtful comment and for taking the time to read.
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You have done amazing things this last year, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store for you. I can’t recommend non-planning stuff as I’m just as bad as you for that! Although I did suddenly think through a fully formed idea for improving our house and living situation while blankly wandering around earlier, and could sketch it all out for Matthew, so all good really!
Thank you! So excited to continue supporting one another int his virtual space. (: When I was on my blogging hiatus due to the job market I was like omg I want to get back to reading Liz’s entries! We love spontaneous unplanned ideas haha for the house I hope it goes well.
Ah, bless you, and you’ve had time to have a look at my postings now, lovely to see you commenting.
yes! haha I am hopeful that I won’t get as busy as I was during that *heinous* job period where I had to take a one-month hiatus. I’m back!!