I always knew this was coming. I always knew this would be in my future. I just didn’t know how hard it would be.
To be honest, it is not the work that is hard, it is the grit and self-efficacy that I need to conjure up in order to push through to get that cake.
I am “only” on the proposal portion of my thesis. It has taken me 10 months so far. Now I must say it has not been 10 months of constant work. It has been 10 month of going back and forth with others who are providing feedback on my proposal.
The “going back and forth with others” entails pressing pause on my flow and waiting for weeks to a month to get my work returned with marks all over it.
When I receive my work back, the hardest thing is to detach my ego from that paper.
I have now constructed a system for the days when my thesis is returned: I give myself a day before I read it, to separate myself, and my ego, from those 25 pages. I give myself time to realize that I am not terrible at everything I do, and then I pull myself up by my sneaker laces, and dive back in.
This last iteration was full of not only marks from my advisor, but also full of personal growth and life lessons.
Lesson #1: Balance
My first lesson is something that I have been striving for throughout my entire adult life — balance. I have been searching for this mystical unicorn for a long time, many of us have. I have heard tale of this wonderful thing called balance, but I have yet to capture it.
My lack of “unicornness” could not have been clearer within the pages of my proposal. In the first draft my advisor suggested that I add more statistics to my background section. The second draft she received was chuck full of as many stats as I could find. This third time around, I have deleted a good portion of the meaningless stats that had filled the pages of my background in the previous draft.
Unicorn found? Maybe. I’ll keep you posted.
Lesson #2: Letting Go
My second lesson was something that I was aware of but would rather ignore. I had this idea in my head about how the study (for my thesis) would pan out. I had a hypothesis that I made at the beginning of the 10 months.
I held on to it for dear life.
I have been trying so hard to force my round peg (my hypothesis) into a square hole (reality).
As I do with many things in my life, I have this vision. And to be truthful, many times it comes to fruition. Because my will is very, very strong. I make things happen. But sometimes it is just not meant to be.
Dear g*d I have tried so hard to hold onto things that were just not meant to be — friends, old flings, control, body image, the list goes on and on.
It has been so important for me to realize that being able to let go, and to stop trying to push and force things to be a certain way, allows for even more beautiful things to flourish in its place.
I’ve got down letting go of the old flings, lovers, whatever you want to call them. My husband helped me with that. Before we were married, I finally realized that I couldn’t be friends with men from my past and have him too. So I let them go and now I have this amazing relationship that I have never had with anyone, ever. My husband has taught me that. I was able to let go of that idea of friendly camaraderie, well at least on my end, in order to allow this beautiful relationship to flourish and grow into something I could have never imagined. Thank you, Andrew.
Control and body image, eh, well that’s a work in progress. There will be many more a post on that topic later.
Back to my thesis. I switched my hypothesis to the opposite of my first idea and it flowed, it flourished. The literature completely supported my idea and it was the easiest thing to write. Granted, maybe in a few months I will realize I was right with my first one, but that is not the point. The point is that stepping back and allowing things to flow is more important than forcing, sometimes.
Both lessons are hard, and they are both opportunities for growth. However, these lessons are not new to me. Throughout my life I have known these seemingly mystical ideas could be more concrete, and cornerstones in my way of thinking. By seeing both lessons in black and white (and blue pen), the mystical unicorn is getting closer for me to catch.