Sunday, 27 May 2012

Misquotations and Anniversaries

This is a long post. 

It's also a bit serious, considering it's the weekend and all.

Here's a picture of my parents' garden to make up for being serious.
A year ago today I submitted my thesis.
The last few weeks before I submitted were a total blur. 
I didn't get much sleep and, strangely, didn't really need any (or so I thought).
My 'to-do' list seemed like it would never end and the stress of all the last-minute checking and re-checking, combined with the other jobs I did (I think I had three other jobs at this point?), meant that I was SUPER strung-out all the time (people who know me might ask what my excuse is now. But they don't dare).
The night before I submitted, DPB and I sat up until the wee small hours going through my last-minute lists (and cleaning up dog sick. It was romantic). 
He was pretty vital in project 'let's-get-this-darn-thing-finished'. Thank you, wonderful man.
It wasn't until 11am on the day of my submission that I actually got permission from one of the archives to use their material (yes, I had applied for it well in advance, but there were some delays and misunderstandings). 
This added a little bit to the tension.
After handing the thesis in I was whisked off for champagne by DPB and friends (champagne is becoming rather a theme on this blog, isn't it?), and then DPB and I came home to celebrate with more friends and my Scottish family. 
TWO cakes for Ph.D. submission.
Master's submission only gets one.
It was lovely.
We went to Glasgow for the weekend, stayed at One Devonshire Gardens, walked around the city, discovered the Kelvingrove Museum (I could have stayed there all weekend), and discussed our plans for the future, now that I'd finally finished.
It's like living inside the brain of an eccentric 19th-century collector.
Apart from the plane. That is obviously not 19th-century.
On the Monday I went back to my (main) job as a Duty Manager at a golf club (I know, the glamour is almost too much to bear). DPB went back to London.
It was like nothing had changed.

The thing is, none of those plans that we made that weekend has come to fruition (yet)
I'm still here in Scotland, DPB is still in London. 
I still don't have my 'proper' job, although I've been working a lot to try and get it. 

Do you know, it's really hard? 

I'd be the first person to (mis)quote Thoreau at you, if you were in my shoes: 'live the life you've imagined'. 
I'm all over the inspirational quotations, the snippets that motivate you never to give up, to chase your dreams, or to try, at least, because then you won't ever wonder 'what if?'.
But, of course, it's different when it's someone else.
(Can you hear the violins playing? I first heard them at the beginning of the third paragraph post).

So let's take a step back to Thoreau for a second.
What he actually wrote is far more inspirational and far more realistic; it allows for more mistakes and a longer passing of time than the imperative voice of the misquotation (in my humble opinion):

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: 
that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. 
He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary [...] 
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; 
that is where they should be.
 Now put the foundations under them.

Right, I'm off to go and build some more of those foundations...
Spot the thesis.
Yes, there it is.
On the right hand side, stuck between 101 Exercises from Top Riders and the first Twilight book (which I haven't actually read yet).
Happy anniversary, thesis. It's been a rocky road but I think (hope) it'll be worth it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loveThoreau, I always turn to him for wisdom when I'm down, self reliance is a wonderful thing.

I'm in Scotland too , I am burning up today!