So, we're back to the "so, what?" question. On some level, I want all the pieces of my life -my work, my research, my home life, my yoga, my biking, and whatever else there is- to be all of a piece. The activities that are in my new life need to be the ones that make me, well, me. It's a high standard; I get that.
I had a disturbing academic encounter the other evening. Certainly there are un-intellectual academics. There are even anti-intellectual academics. Put a bunch of both types in a room with me, and I end up sitting there wondering if I've accidentally taken a train to Crazy-Town.
I don't question their right to be that way -not at all. I'm not suggesting that they're not smart and I am -not at all. I'm just questioning the good sense of me being in a room with them. I have a completely different orientation to how intellectual work gets done. It's hard to imagine that we have very much to offer each other.
So, rather than alienate myself from people (people I actually like, by the way), I started doodling and quasi-journaling. (Did it look like I was taking notes? I hope so.) Is this an essential activity? Who am I in this context? Can I be me in this context? Is this the path to get me where I want to go? Can I turn this into something productive, in spite of the barriers? Nothing like a little existential crisis in the middle of an unproductive meeting!
I didn't get far, because I did, in fact, have to listen a little bit -if only to be sure that I didn't get "volunteered" for anything. I did get this far, though. If I am going to do the "so, what" work, I'm in charge of that. Certainly there are mentors and guiding lights, but I have to find them. They weren't the people in that room, and that's the truth.
I'm not on my own, exactly. It's a big world, and there are plenty of connections to be made, yet. But I don't exactly know where I'm going from here.