It's been a challenging few weeks here. I did a bunch of interviews--some online, some in person--and had great hopes for starting a new academic program that would incorporate my academic interests and my values. I travelled to some far-flung places. I liked the people I met and chatted with, and enjoyed some fun department visits. But the truth is, there isn't anywhere that's turned up as a great fit for me. This week I found out that I wasn't accepted at the one place for which I'd had high hopes. I'm wait-listed, which means it's still a small possibility that I'll get accepted. But even there, I see that it's not a great fit for me in some important ways. Even if they were to offer me a place, I don't think it would be the right hing for me to take up. There are two other possibilities, but I really don't see them working out either. I had such hopes in all this, and it's been so much work. I feel pretty sad about it.
There are several reasons for things not working, I see now. All these programs involve my husband and I moving to a different country--that big one slightly to the south of Canada, specifically! Immigration laws and restrictions are proving more of a challenge than I'd thought. If we were to go, I would be living on a stipend, but he may not be allowed to work. I know people find their way past this kind of thing, but I am at something of a loss as to how we might do that. I'm not all that great at bureaucracy. We are not wealthy, so not working for a stretch of time seems tricky, and I worry about what he would do with himself. (He has been willing to give it a go, but we both are seeing that he can't just do nothing, and we can't figure what he could do that fits within the restrictions.). And neither of us is a genius with finances, so making a pittance go a long way for a span of several years is something I'm not sure we can do. I know people say you can do anything you set your mind to. But I have been desperately poor in my life, and I'm afraid of living like that again. I'm even more reluctant about asking my husband to do so, and maybe for several years.
I'm also pretty nervous about the different political climate in the nearby country, and the lack of socialized medicine. When my husband had his accident last year, we had the best health care available in Canada, including a stay on a specialized trauma ward for almost 2 weeks, and it didn't cost us a penny. If we hadn't, I'm not sure my husband would have recovered as well as he has. So I'm genuinely nervous about giving this up, and I don't know how much health care we could afford on my pittance, even if I were to be accepted at any of the programs. I know some people work it out. But some go bankrupt. And I'm afraid of that happening.
I guess my disappointment has two parts. One is the sadness of not finding a place to do the kind of work that interests me, which means I still have to figure out how to craft the next section of my education, and find a place where it makes sense to do that. The second is just the letdown of putting in all that effort and then not having a shiny, happy prize at the end. That one's less mature, I know, but it's there just the same.
The decisions aren't all in yet, but what I see is that we aren't going anywhere this year. That's not all sad. I love where we live--the apartment the city, the geography, my husband's family living nearby, etc. And I do have some good support at my university to help me try to figure out how to do what I want. (Sorry to be vague on the specifics, but explaining my interests would blow my privacy and bore my readers all in one go. Not necessary, I think!)
This whole process has been more stressful than I expected. It's been time-consuming and expensive, and it's also involved putting myself in the way of rejection more seriously than can possibly be comfortable for anyone. This past week I've been a bit of a wreck, checking email every few minutes (I knew I'd hear from one program this week). I've been so tense that I didn't even know what my own feelings were with regards to the different places I applied. I really don't like when I become as alienated from myself as all that. I've been thinking about something Jackie at Sober, Sassy Life was writing recently about the pleasure of being an adult and making adult decisions. I know she's right, and I feel like I'm doing a little but of that now. That's what this all feels like yesterday and today, and there is some pleasure in making sensible decisions. But just the same, it's been a big letdown.
And right there with all the stress and then the letdown has been a burning desire to drink. Holy mother of god, for about three days this week, I very much wanted to drink! It was awful. I saw a guy on the bus carrying a BC Liquor Store bag with what was obviously two bottles of wine inside, and I felt so jealous that he could have wine while I couldn't. At times I just about had to sit on my hands, I so much wanted to get up and walk out and buy wine, and then come home and crawl into the merciful oblivion it offers. I cried, and I complained, and I was miserable. But I didn't drink. I mostly knew I wouldn't. Still, it was tough.
Last night I used the amazing Living Sober website to say how tough it's been, and I was cheered to get instant support from the wonderful people there. I didn't realize how much I needed that until I read people's kind comments and started to cry. I've been through long sober spells and periods of intensely wanting to drink before, but I always forget how much a little solidarity helps me though it. We sure do need to help each other.
Anyway, that's what's up here. A whole lot of effort and not much to show in the short term, just me, being an adult and coping with disappointment the way adults can, not by crawling into oblivion, but instead by feeling awful for a few days and reaching out to people and finding a way through. It's not a shiny new plan, but it's what I've got for now.
If you're still here, thanks for reading. Your support keeps me going. Peace and joy to you.