Monday, October 07, 2013

Holiday hangover...

It's the first day of term four and I'm so happy it is finally here! At the same time, I feel myself already dreading the summer holidays in just ten and a bit week's time.

One thing I've learned during the past three weeks is that it is very hard to motivate myself to do work when the kids are at home. It is also a lot more expensive to have the kids home because there is less motivation to do a fortnightly shop (when you have kids in tow) and generally because the Grumpy Old Man and I find ourselves feeling very stretched with all the extra energy in the house.

I feel so out of touch with my PhD at the moment. I have been meaning to get onto a range of things - scholarship and grant applications, dealing with Erik's doctors, sorting out my health, but I struggle when all day there are these little people around asking for attention and things to be done for them and well, just draining my energy.

Whinge, whinge.

I'm certainly no supermum. I am not one of those ever cheerful, ever bursting with fun ideas, ever infatuated with my children, mums.

Sometimes I wish I was one of those mums - a fun mum, a devoted Mum (with a capital mmmm).

I guess, I'm just not.

Right now, I feel drained and as though I need a holiday after these holidays. I could sleep for a week, and then I'd like a research assistant personal trainer, to whip my butt into gear. To make me sit down and devise some sort of plan and then stick to that plan and get back into research shape!

A conversation I had the other day on Facebook has me feeling a bit down about my research, actually.

While discussing an article, I made an off hand comment about Tony Abbott making daft statements about valuable research to be funded and 'wasting' funding on rubbish research. Turns out the person I was saying this to agrees with Tony. I suppose a lot of people do agree that cancer research is more valid and valuable than non-life-saving research.

If I had to choose between saving a life and encouraging people to write flash fiction, I know I would choose saving a life as well.

So, my research probably doesn't deserve to be publicly funded.

The thing is, I don't have an aptitude for medicine or science.

Also, I can't get work with my current skills set and disability.

So, the public is funding my lifestyle anyway. I feel like such a waste of space sometimes, as if I have nothing to offer anyone that they value.


I like to think my research will encourage people to understand that flash fiction can and is often literary fiction, and it will encourage people to read more (because being short it is also very accessible), and through reading more literary writing people will be encourage to turn over ideas and empathise and think more deeply, and maybe through that people will be encouraged to engage with their world in a meaningful way - maybe even in life saving ways.

I know it's a very long bow to draw. I know.

Not every researcher can be scientific and medical. If every researcher were, we might well cure cancer more quickly, but maybe we'd have a poorer understanding of our own inner workings? Maybe our understanding of sociology would suffer? Maybe our understanding of creativity would diminish. Without creativity humans would not be dominating this planet the way we do. Creativity speaks to something non-biological, be it the mind or the spirit - depending on your philosophical viewpoint - humans are more than corporeal - and we know this because of philosophy and because of questioning the non-essential mechanics of life. Essentially because of the kind of research Tony Abbott would deem a waste of taxpayer money.

If humans were machines I would find it easier to agree that there are 'wasteful' forms of research, but humans are far more complex than machines.

I guess people would view my field of research as non-essential, fluffy, indulgent, a waste of the tax payer dollar.

The conversation has left me battling the feeling that I am a waste of space, that my work is a waste, that my love of research for the gaining of knowledge and understanding without necessarily saving a life is a waste of energy.

Or maybe it's just the holiday hang over talking.

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Good Job!