Personal Updates,  Random

Writing, Reading and Life: October

October has been one short, crazy month. It is the second month – out of 4 – that I am supposed to devote to reading for my PhD, but there are a lot of other things happening at the same time, most of them good and challenging and all of them time-consuming. I am actually writing this on my first non-weekend free day in 30 days. It’s a hot, Thursday night and today I have finished reading a book, all my tasks for October and, tonight I will finish watching Mad Men until it returns next January. Also, why is it so hot? Why am I still wearing summer clothes?

My reading and writing are going fine. I read one theory book a month and I combine reading with writing articles and attending conferences, which has pretty much taken me out of the house, for good. The PhD life is a great one, but also a solitary one. I try to go to college at least once a week so that I force myself to go out, meet people, get some fresh air! The fact that most of my friends are all over Europe and the USA until December does not help. Girls, I miss you.

As for my pleasure reading, it is nuts. This month I only read two books for pleasure: From Potter’s Field and Bad Feminist. I was quite angry at myself for this, because I have managed to watch the complete Mad Men series this month… But, checking my schedule, I am doing a lot of reading for my PhD: from articles to doctoral thesis. I am also borrowing books from the library and I try to meet the deadlines, because I’m actually scared of what would happen if I return a book late (you and I both know the answer is ‘nothing’, but still….).

And life? I have wondered about this for some years now. Is my life work-oriented? Do I work my days away and do I want it to be so? I had some friends who needed to meet almost everyday for coffee and a chat, a 2-hour meeting so that they could function. Other people I know see work as the means to get money and just get it done. Neither of these lifestyles has ever been my priority and my school schedules never allowed me the luxury of  ever considering them: I have always loved learning, attending lessons, reading and writing and now I am lucky enough to have turned them into my ‘job’ (and society agrees!). The short answer to this worry is another question: Are you happy? And yes. Actually I have never been happier becuase I have finally found that place where the line between my passion in life and my work life is so blurred no one can discern it.


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  • crimeworm

    Why is it so hot??? I’m so jealous! After a long “summer” here, it’s suddenly got very wet and very cold very quickly! My hands literally go numb holding a book in bed…especially bad when it’s one you don’t want to put down…

    • Elena

      Luckily, we have central heating, so as soon as the weather goes “bad” (which is actually good for me), they turn it on! You wouldn’t believe how happy I am it is dark at 6 pm. And don’t get me started on three days of rain of storms. Because I need them right now.

  • susanosborne55

    It’s a delight when work and your passion overlap. I had the opposite for the early part of my working life but for by far the longest part I’ve worked with books. I’ve never forgotten how lucky I am. Long may it last for you, Elena.

    • Elena

      Thank you, Susan! I was brought up with the motto “you got to love your job because it’s going to take a huge part of your life” , so my parents always encouraged me to do what I love. Luckily for me, you can actually make a career out of it!

  • naomifrisby

    What a fantastic post. I’m so pleased that you love what you’re doing – it makes such a huge difference to your wellbeing.

    Thanks for the mention too, very kind x

  • Leah

    Ahh, I’m sorry it’s still so warm there! It’s been pretty chilly and rainy here, and I love it.

    I’m glad you are so happy in your work! After losing my job last month, I’ve really been struggling with trying to figure out what I want to do next. My lack of direction is so frustrating, so I’m happy that you love what you’re doing! I hope I can find that.

    • Elena

      Oh enjoy the rain!! Send me a video or something! 😛

      I am sorry about your job, but I have to say, I was really inspired by how well you managed the loss and how classy you stayed through the whole process. And, I’ll be a little bit bold and tell you I don’t think you lack direction: you know what you want to do, but society won’t let you! I seriously see you as a book reviewer and/or media manager at some bookish enterprise. You are really good at it, but there are no jobs available anywhere, so it’s not your fault at all, obviously.

      • Leah

        I would really love to work in publishing, but there just aren’t many opportunities — and what jobs there are, are mostly in New York City. It’s frustrating that I can’t really pursue the career I want without moving. But hey, maybe we’ll do it! The boyfriend is the most supportive ever, and he’s willing to move if an opportunity arises. It’s all very scary!

        • Elena

          That is amazing, Leah. I knew Tom was everything but an obstacle, but it is great to read it from you. Also, I know about the moving… same happens with professor posts, but I am willing to fight for a post in my alma mater. I love it so much! We’ll both make it. I KNOW IT 😉

  • amanda

    Yay for being happy even if busy! I’m one that prefers to try to find a work-life balance, but I know that everyone is different. (And perhaps if my work involved a lot more reading, I’d think differently!) Good luck with all your PhD work. I hope you continue to find some time for fun, be it friends or reading or TV.

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