Monday, October 02, 2006

Perspective

First let me say "Thanks" to Dr. Shellie for her condolences on our "lost" vacation. We actually drove the kids down to the beach this past weekend for the day. It was beautiful weather, the kids had a great time, and it was nice to completely disconnect from work life. It makes up a little for the time we lost earlier.

Anway, these days I'm re-learning that life is all about perspective. And I've actually gained a clearer perspective on myself in the last few days.

I haven't blogged in awhile. Partly because I've been really busy at work, partly because I was consumed by the planning of my three year old daughter's birthday party and partly because I've was trying to do all of this while battling some mysterious illness which gave me rotating migraines and stomach ailments. And yes, I had a wicked migraine for the actual birthday party - but it went on as planned and it was a success for her.

All of this has been working in combination with my son's current insistence to get out of bed 3 or 4 times a night and come in to wake me up - most often for no reason what-so-ever. I was feeling quite bedraggled at the beginning of this week and was expressing this to my husband.

He gets pretty upset with me when I get this run down because he sees that I'm spending more time at work than I need to. For those of you that are new to this blog, I'm an Associate Professor in Cancer Research who is currently in the unusual position of being a part time faculty member. I took this position because it would facilitate my husband's recruitment to a more senior position and because I have an adopted daughter who needs extra medical attention. So I'm trying to do my science without anyone in my lab, minimal soft money and no real support from the Department Chairman. My husband's perspective on this is that I should work my 20 hours and get out of the lab. In that extra time, I could do a lot of things for the family to make life run smoother - groceries, shopping - and maybe catch some afternoon snoozes. I can see his point but then he doesn't see this from my perspective.

Yes I agreed to this part time position for the kids and to expedite the move to our new Institute. But that doesn't mean that I became less of a scientist. I'm still driven to do something useful in my field. I still have the same level of interest and desire that drew me to medical research in the first place. I have a pretty crazy schedule running between work and kid's appointments, preparing for birthdays, keeping the house running and feeding the family. But that doesn't dampen my scientific drive.

When I get to work, it feels natural to be there. I have experiments that I want to do; I'm working out a new technique and would love to be able to show it's feasibility for predicting tumor behavior. So from my perspective, I'm trying to keep my scientific career alive and yes, it can get to be a lot when family life interferes - and it often does. In addition, I actually like to have lunch with my husband (Sappy maybe, but true) because with a 4 and 3 year old at home, we don't get much time to sit and talk alone! .

I don't know if I will ever get better at just "doing my time" but I do know the this has taught me something that I don't think I've ever really acknowledged about myslef. I understand better how much of me loves what I do. I used to joke that if this science thing didn't work out I could always teach figure skating and make better money. That's still true but I realize now how difficult it would be to completely walk away from life in the laboratory.

Wish me luck.....

1 comment:

Alethea said...

Hi there - I had to create a bogus blog to leave comments for some reason. Anyhow, I totally sympathize with your experience. You'll find a way to make your contribution, and as your kids get older I promise it will get easier. Come on by if you have the chance: http://humans.scienceboard.net