Thursday, June 07, 2007

One small step for man, one giant leap for DrJ

I´ve been living a very temporary life for the last eight years and it´s time that stopped. When I was in Australia in February I made a decision to move us back there. DrH would just have to search for work there, even though the possibilities are nowhere near as good as in Europe. I´d been waiting too long, I´d decided. I wanted to go home.

Where everything would be alright again.

But this, I´ve come to realise, was wrong. Being in Australia wouldn´t fix my problems, it´d just change their geography. My problem is that I´ve been having a shit of a time working out what I want to do with my life and implementing it. Because I´m hung up on this idea of respect.

It appears that I am not one of those people who can say “Dang what they think, I´m doing something different.” I thought I was but, well, nope. I´ve always wanted the respect of others, something which came almost automatically with the title of “Scientist”. That´s a difficult drug to give up, especially when others around you are asking when you are going to get a real job and use your qualifications again.

So over the last year I haven´t taken myself seriously. Sure, I´ve started My Personal Projects, as I have called them here, but I haven´t even told half the people what they are for fear of being sneered at or dropping a few rungs in their esteem. It appears the proud feminist has a very large weak spot after all.

This has all become clear in the last two weeks talking with Permanent HoliDave and OurManInTokyo, two people who´ve also followed a different route and also get the pressure of “When are you coming home” and “How about getting a real job?” But rather than wallowing in insecurity the way I have, they´ve ignored it and gotten on with their lives.

They have great lives and they are very, very, very good at what they do. And I respect them both immensely.

But back to me (my favourite topic after all). Here it comes: I don´t want to be a scientist anymore. I´ll happily continue with freelance crystallographer work if I get it -it certainly helps pay the bills -but I don´t want it full time. Nor do I want a full time job in tech transfer. Not right now at least. I give myself the right to change my mind about that in the future.

Nope, now I´m going to be doing what interests me, the things that I actually CAN get myself out of bed at 6am for. I have a small business doing alternative-style embroidery designs. That is fun and creative and I think I´m good at it. I´ve had designs published in embroidery magazines and one coming out in a book in November. And I write. I write an embroidery column, I write articles for a refugee organisations newsletter, I´ve had several articles published in print media and I´ve submitted short fiction to various magazines. I´m going to keep writing because it excites me.

And I´m going to stay in Germany because, although it can get up my nose at times, it is more home than anywhere else these days. Here my husband is happy and I think I will be too now that I´ve accepted it as permanent. Here I have freedom I probably wouldn´t have in Australia.

So there. The impressive international scientist is gone, replaced by me. Just me.


ScienceWoman said...

Yay for you! It sounds like its been a difficult journey, but that you're much happier now than you would be otherwise.

Reading-Jan said...

Gosh, that is a post! Seems you have had time for serious thinking recently. It's good that you preserve your right of changing your mind, that's always good! I agree with sciencewoman, it seems that you are much happier now. But it must have been a very difficult decision! Best wishes for your projects, honey, and for everything else!

Susan said...

I struggle with some of the same issues. I still find it hard to tell people that I don't have a traditional job, and I downplay what I do to anyone who asks. I'm very proud that you have found your voice and are succeeding. I just hope that I find mind before too long.

Also my parents are thinking of taking my husband and I along on their annual trip to Europe next year. We will be spending time in Germany and possibly France, or Austria, or Italy, or...well Germany is the only one that is for sure. Any suggestions on cool places to go and things to see?