My self-critical voice is still pretty strong. And still works too well.
The joke I use as the founding principle of this blog still rings true to me. I’m exactly how not to be a postdoc, or how to live life. I’ve been trying to do the opposite, or at least try new things the last few years. To some little effect, at least.
I’ve shared my view on the world from a lens of introversion, depression, and hopefully realistic optimism and openness, as terrifying as that is sometimes.
I don’t feel successful, even by my own internal standards. Things are generally better than worse in my own little world, but I am still feel early on in building my career, and yet i’m almost 38. I’m still trying to figure out how to feel like a pro at something. To feel somewhat confident, even in the face of learning new things constantly, or trying to.
I started from where I was. Depressed, anxious, feeling alone in the world, without hope.
Since I started this blog in late 2011, I have much more effectively treated my depression. I’ve tried taking up new hobbies, actually taken days off, and tried to focus on a growth mindset. And practice gratitude and self-compassion.
I tweet a lot. I still find it fun. And this year, I started a science blog which has been a lot of fun, even if it’s starting fairly small. And I feel like I have a career direction I’d like to go in, even if it still seems like a long shot to me. I keep asking, shouldn’t I be further along by now?
I have a vague sense of opportunities that might exist. I say yes a lot more. But then, I feel like I say no a lot too; and possibly in dumb ways and too often from a place of anxiety, rather than feeling excited about something.
I still worry about my energy level sometimes. I feel like the list of “essential” skills is long and I’m still at the beginning of learning, as expert as I might be in some areas. And I still worry I have not built enough effective habits.
Giving myself credit is still hard. Being optimistic (as an “early career” academic especially) is also hard. But I need to hope. Doom and gloom isn’t a healthy place to come from.
I hope I can still improve. I hope life gets even better, though I know there are no guarantees.
The feelings are complex. And as I found with starting this blog, becoming a bit vulnerable, I know I’m not alone. And in the end, that keeps me going.