“Give yourself time to scratch your head,” advised Prof Stuart Rees on one of our CPACS sailing trips down in Jervis Bay. These last few months I did not listen to this advice.
I have lived the last few months in a mad rush. I have packed up my life and put it in my grandma’s garage. Now I’m in Stockholm, on route to a conference in Krakow, Poland, and (after holiday in Europe) onto work at a university in North Carolina, USA, for the next 4 months.
Sitting in the airport awaiting my friend’s arrival, I can see the wisdom in Rees words.
I may have accomplished a lot these last few months – well at least in terms of words on pages and chapters and articles close to publishing – but in the process I lost something. In the rush to meet deadlines something had to go.
Besides pressing the pause button on my blog for a few weeks, I also pressed pause on the reflective process that allows a person to join the dots between the things they already know and the things they are learning. Whatever I learned these last few months feels as though it is lost in a blurred area of my brain. I was doing too many things, too fast, without even a second of time to ponder the ideas I was learning, summarising, and formulating into a chunk of writing.
Meeting one deadline after the other I have arrived at the end of the race with hardly a memory of the beautiful scenery I saw along the way. That being said I did finish the race. I upgrade from a MPhil to a PhD which might not sound like much but was quite an accomplishment, and was probably worth the head-spin.
During the twenty-something hour flight I observed my mind acting like a computer trying to process an overload of information. Dizzy from the whirlpool of ideas it has processed and outputted, my brain struggled to catch up with my new location in time and space.
It’s a strange feeling now that the rush of moving out of an apartment, saying goodbye to loved ones, finishing up work projects, and packing a backpack is finished.
Here I am, sitting in an airport with no deadlines and an uncertain future.
I sit, I wonder, where will life’s adventure take me next? And I scratch my head.