Back in vancouver finally. It feels really good to be home but at the same time, I have barely slept since getting here because I am immediately back in the throes of PhD bullshit. I leave for three weeks, notch up the resume with conferences and network connections, see good friends (though not as much as I would have liked), hang out with family, see the Alberta mountains (aaaahhhhhhh) and the prairies (room to breathe!), and yet the moment I step off the plane into the Vancouver airport, the pressure of months previous are on the carousel with my backpacks, waiting to be shouldered.
Vacations are supposed to refresh you and offer new prespective. It's true that while I was away I had a couple, rare moments of inspiration and enthusiasm for the work I should be accomplishing at UBC, but I didn't write them down and they didn't stick. I also had a breakdown/temper tantrum, sobbing self-pityingly because I am convinced I'm not cut out for this kind of work. What kind of work? The environmental fight against sloth, greed, gluttony, etc. This is a fight I wage with myself too, by the way. I believe I'm burnt out. The thought of ditching the PhD and finding something else terrifies me for two reasons: I've never done anything else so I don't think I have any street cred with which to get a non-minimum wage paying job in the sustainability field; I can't stand the thought of quitting something that I have committed myself to.
This is probably another incarnation of what I like to call the Spring Crisis. Every year as I get notice that my scholarship applications have failed and I flounder about for the first months of summer wondering what the hell to aim to accomplish in the unstructured time before September, I freak out and indulge in existential doubt and questioning. This may be the annual freak out except that the Spring Crisis is usually over by mid-May. It's now the end of June. One of these years the Crisis will actually motivate me to try something different, to jump ship, but is it this year?
I know so many of you have had moments like these. Care to share? How did you get over it or what happened to change the situation? C'mon guys, if I can bare my soul on a blog, you can send me virtual hugs and stories of your own.