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Monday, 30 June 2014

Pick Yourself Up...

Looking back at June, I'm a little shell-shocked. I don't quite know what happened. Ups, downs, spinning arounds; it's had it all and I don't feel any better for the variation. Several writing rejections balancing out that short story publication and more personal setbacks than you can shake a stick at. I always get a little self-reflective as we head into July (my birthday month) but June this year has just made me fearful. Will things continue to get worse? Ironically, given how much trouble I've had from it in the past, my PhD doesn't seem to be part of this bad spell. It's tricky, yes, but I'm winging my way through, I know what I'm doing and I'm getting good feedback. After all this time, I seem to be confident academically. We'll see if that lasts.

So...what next? Well, July will be as fractured as June in some respects. I'm in London for a few days for a conference and I'm sure there'll be some enforced time off around my birthday, though I'll likely spend the day chucking popcorn at my own reflection. I'm drifting from day to day, unsure of what I'm doing save for the thesis edits which I'm deliberately taking slowly in order to get right. My stress levels have mixed oddly with my apathy, meaning I spend half the time restless and the other half miserable. Completing the PhD won't fix this - the problems are too deeply rooted and far removed from academic worries. So I suppose I'm in no rush any more which, perversely, has meant I can attack the thesis with no pressure and it's therefore getting done more quickly - and accurately - than it was before.

I'm restarting my work diary (again, I last restarted it in January and lost the thread again in March). Hopefully this will give me some structure, reminding me that I am actually working and, if I can quantify that work, so much the better. I may need to go back to my old habits of a little work on something then switch - it may suit my restlessness.

If the second half of 2014 is going to be as challenging as the first, I need to prepare myself. And no one assists that more ably than Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers...

Nothing's impossible, I have found,
For when my chin is on the ground,
I pick myself up, dust myself off,
And start all over again.

Don't lose your confidence if you slip,
Be grateful for a pleasant trip,
And pick yourself up, dust yourself off
And start all over again.

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