Monday, April 28, 2008

Plan? What plan?

As much as I consider myself a "planner", I have never really done much long-term planning- personally or professionally. I just read ScienceWoman's post about her initial career and life goals and thought about how I never really had a plan. I didn't decide to continue through PhD until I was almost finished with my Masters. I never planned to have children (or imagined I would find someone I wanted to marry and vice versa), but I got pregnant during my second year of PhD and married H a few months later. Despite my lack of "a plan", things have turned out amazing well: I am happily married as we approach our 9th anniversary this summer, I have a happy, healthy eight-year-old daughter, and I have just gotten tenure. I really can't complain (not that I don't!). 

I am at an interesting point in my life now, though. I feel like this year has been a bit of a wash in some ways- the post-tenure-submission slow-down (OK- slack-off is a more fitting term) that has caused me to take things a little too easy, for one. I feel like I need to make some big decisions about my future. I have plenty of research ideas and current work going on (with the Big Grant), so it's not that I am sitting around with nothing with do. I do wonder which direction I should head with my research, though. I wonder if my future work will be enough to eventually be promoted to full professor, too. It seems that requirements for promotion and tenure only go up and I wonder if I am up to the task. 

The other big decision is personal. After my recent miscarriage, we have to reconsider our whole plan to expand our family. Since this is so fresh, I'm still sorting through my feelings about it, but also considering what we will do over the next few months. Will we try again? Should we? I can't help but feel that maybe we should take it as a sign that we're done with kids. I also kind of hate to accept defeat. Since D was born and H got his first tenure-track job, we've let our careers drive our personal plans. Now that we both have tenure, we feel free to plan our personal lives without worrying about how it might affect our ability to get tenure. This is what drove us to try for the baby that we just lost, but now we feel obliged to reconsider. We have been content being parents of an only child, but have always talked about maybe having another. As I creep closer to 40, we know that time is running short on that option. 

I am happy with my life so far, so my lack of goals and planning doesn't seem to have hurt me too much. Maybe NOT having a plan about my future will be OK, too. 


science cog said...

It is good to read how well you are managing things - an inspiration to others.

MommyProf said...

If you think you want another child, you should keep trying. That sounds like the kind of thing you would really regret later.

Addy N. said...

Thanks for comments! I know what you mean, Mommy/Prof- I'm just torn. As a mother of kids with a big age difference, maybe you had similar thoughts of "do we really want to start over?" We had those conversations before trying this time, but feel like we need to ask them all over again. H was totally on-board this time, but has already said that he would have no regrets if we don't have any more kids, either. I'm not sure I can say that myself- at least right now. We'll see how I feel in a few months.