I recognize that I was able to survive the postdoc- to jr. faculty transition in part because I work like a dog and I’m very, very demanding of myself. There is no tougher critic of me, than me. High strung overachiever that I am. For the career- this is a good thing. Perhaps, an essential thing?
It is not such a good thing in my personal life however, and the holidays almost always bring out the worst part of this in me. I’m not sure why. In the last three weeks, I had a review article to finish. Doing this over the holidays, juggling my kids and DrMrA while the babysitter was off, and coordinating with my co-author (who also juggles own family with working spouse).. making sure that Christmas happened for the kids, Christmas cards got sent, kids got to the doctor (my older daughter had Whooping cough and coughed so hard she vomited nearly every day for a month- this was a huge worry) , Christmas parties got attended by entire family wearing appropriate Christmas party attire (and not sports shorts/shirts, what is it with 11 year old girls??? Is this the uniform?)… Is your blood pressure up yet…. playing Martha Stewart (insert your favorite domestic diva here) for guests at our house… well, almost killed me this year. Because I’ve got this internal pressure to handle it all like it’s no big deal- and anything less than perfect isn’t good enough.For.Me. High strung, overachiever that I am.
And the meltdown always comes to me over something completely stupid. I myself, can’t even believe how stupid- but when things feel like they are getting away from me (or they are way the heck away from me already)… the straw can break the camel’s back. One day this break, after I spent like 2 nights writing until 2 or 3 am, DrMrA decided to change the whole TV setup from cable to satellite (long story), and he went to quite considerable effort to research the whole deal, schedule the thing, buy the receivers, etc. He did an excellent job. But cable was the status quo, I knew what to expect when I flipped on the TV looking for white noise to write by after everyone else was in bed. I just lost my marbles when I couldn’t find the right white noise (or programming) lost in a sea of satellite channels. Felt like I was lost in NYC without a map or money. Lost marbles over TV, high strung overachiever that I am.
I think I’d be a whole lot happier, especially at the holidays, if I could just let go of my overachieving tendencies for some parts of my life. I’m pretty sure that those around me on a regular basis would be happier too- but I have no idea how to get this accomplished ESPECIALLY at the holidays.
I’ll add that to my to-do list. High strung, overachiever that I am.