13 May 2007


(The part where I complain)

I'm getting antsy, bored, a little burned out on my friend Peter Philips.

It was bound to happen. How long can a person possibly do just one thing for an entire year? Well, I guess I've been doing more than one thing. But as far as brain food, it's been nothing but Philips, Philips, Philips. Philips in Brussels, Philips in Antwerp, Philips in Spanish, French, Dutch, Latin . . . And I haven't even started writing yet!


(The part where I rationalize)

It was partly this most recent trip to the states. I got on the podium for the first time since last July. Ahhhh, what a rejuvenation! I was anxious for weeks ahead that I would have somehow forgotten how to conduct, when in fact I just plain missed it. I can't wait to get back on the concert stage!

I also realize that my time here is nearly up. I leave in just over one month! Rather than enjoy the time I have left, all I want to know is . . . what's next? This kind of restlessness is a typical springtime reaction for me: Will I be working? If so, where? When will I find time to write? Will I want to write? When will I graduate? What about juggling schedules with Z? Will we need another car? If so, how can we afford a new car if I'm not working? Will I be working . . .


(The part where I engage in dialogue)

I've been giving Z an earful on my restlessness/anxiousness all week. In return, he has given me that much-needed dose of perspective.

Me: "I can't take much more of this research. I'm soooooo unmotivated."

Z: "Well, how much more do you have to do?"

Me: "I could work on this topic forever! But I don't have time. I still need to go to the Netherlands, England, Rome, maybe Germany."

Z (with that sarcastic *poor thing* look on his face): "You don't have to do it all, just do what you can and enjoy yourself."

Me: "How can I enjoy myself when I haven't seen the $#*(&@ sun in over a week? Stupid Belgian weather."

Z (cheerfully): "Well, welcome to my--"

Me (clearly not listening): "And what about next year? What will I do?"

Z: "Dear, maybe--"

Me: "MAN I've had enough of Peter Philips. I'm tired of seeing his name during the day, his imaginary face in my dreams. Geez, how much more of a nerd can I be?"

Z (starting to straighten up his desk): "Mmm-hmmmm . . ."

Me: "So, what should I do?"

Z: "Sounds good, dear."

Me: "What? Have you been listening?"

Z: "OK, good luck with that. Gotta go . . . grade papers . . . and stuff . . ." (I know perfectly well he's going to the couch to watch basketball.)

Me: "WHAT?!?"

Eventually after I calm down a bit Z imparts his sage words of wisdom: "Don't spend your last weeks worrying about everything you have to do. Remember, you're only writing a dissertation, not the seminal study on the life and work of Peter Philips. Do that later if you want. Right now just relax and enjoy!"


(The part where I accept)

He's right, of course. I've spent all year living the stress-free life of an American abroad, soaking up the slow-paced European way of life, food, and drink. I would hate to flush that all down the toilet over a man who's been dead for almost 400 years.


Breathe deep, straighten my shoulders, do a little work . . . and relax!

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