Monday, August 24, 2009

The grass is not quite so green...

Rather than explain to a banquet hall full of people that I no longer keep in touch with what on earth constitutes a PhD in my chosen field, I decided to skip the 10 year high school reunion. Thanks to facebook, I'm pretty much caught up on who got married, who got fat and who still lives with their parents. Also, to be perfectly honest, if I had to sit there and chat with my former best friend (who married into money) and reflect on the lifestyle my meager graduate stipend affords me, I'd probably have waded out into South Bay and drowned myself. There are challenges about getting a PhD for which you can, somewhat, prepare (the god-awful, mind-bending difficulty of the coursework, for example). And then there are the challenges that you just never saw coming; like how difficult it is to put your life on hold for several years and watch, and pretend to be happy for, your friends as they: buy houses, take glamorous vacations, have children (and totally steal the name you picked out FIVE YEARS AGO), etc. etc... It's turning me into a person I do not want to be; jealous, bitter and spiteful. It really doesn't make sense because, if I wanted to, I could walk away from this desk right now, take my old job back and step right into that life of 9 to 5, 401(k), maternity leave and paid vacation. I keep trying to remind myself that I chose to do this because that life was tedious and boring, but from over here all I can remember is how easy it was, and easy is something that I haven't had since the moment I started this program. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone to the reunion. Hearing people talk about their jobs selling insurance or forecasting earnings might have helped me remember why I'm here. With two more years ahead of me (assuming I actually do graduate), the light at the end of this tunnel is looking pretty dim.

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