This week things are getting back to normal - whatever that is. I'm in a most bizarre state of mind lately... taking a break from school and not stressing about it; happy to just chill out and yet itching for new challenges; going from moments of doing a great deal of reflecting or just sitting happily with a book to wanting to get out and be extraordinarily social. The weird thing is that I feel like I'm watching it all with someone else's eyes.
I see a good deal of change going on around me - people moving, getting married, having babies or breaking up and yet, my own life is uncharacteristically stable and unusually peaceful at the moment. I feel like in past couple of months things have changed inside me that aren't necessarily visible from the outside. I am stronger and more centred, clearer about who I am and what things are important to me.
Quietly puttering along in these hot lazy days of summer, I find myself feeling rested... and happy.
This past school year was, when I look back on it, extraordinarily challenging... especially around Christmas when I was considering dropping out of the program and in a full meltdown of depression that was unparalleled in recent years. That all seems like a long time ago now.
It would have been out of character for me to quit, even though I didn't really feel very strong or sure at the time. But then came the thesis proposal and the exams... concurrent with intensive training to run the half marathon.
It's all done now... months and months of preparation... thesis proposal defended, exams successfully passed... half marathon completed.
Then came rest and recovery in the form of a holiday.
Now as I look back, I see where I've come from.
And I look forward to the next two challenges, each of them at times sure to be lonely and frustrating, at times enjoyable and even exhilarating, and most certainly long and gruelling ... the Ph.D. dissertation... and the full marathon.
It seems for me that these two journeys have become inextricably intertwined. The doctoral work is intellectually exciting and lets my mind grow in ways I'd never dreamed of before. The running gets me "out of my head" and keeps me sane. I'm deeply passionate about both of them and, truth be told, I profoundly enjoy the challenges they bring.
The mind and the body are both being taxed and pushed to new limits. As one develops, so the other grows stronger. I always wanted to do these things, but deep down, I was never really quite sure that I could.
Somehow, somewhere along the way this summer a little voice inside my head has said, "Well, of course you can."