Tuesday, June 9, 2009
As I sit awake past my bedtime due to my usual end of quarter insomnia, kept company by the soft little chirps of Roxie and Flea, I find myself contemplating a choice. Last summer, in my attempt to both make some money and more importantly, get as many nutrition related hours as possible in a (failed) attempt to be impressive to the Bastyr internship director, I worked 50-60 hours a week between three jobs, while also doing a summer clinic shift. The only memory I have that summer occurred at all was the memory of walking down First Hill in the sunshine after my 10 hour shifts at Harborview as a diet clerk and being very hot in my uniform. The rest of the summer was spent divided between the hospital basement, hauling around patient trays, the Bastyr teaching kitchen where I carefully maintained inventory and cleanliness between classes, the nutrition practice where I am an administrative assistant, the Bastyr clinic, the bus and my car. I stayed as white as a ghost and was completely exhausted by summer's end.
This summer is likely my last as a student with the "summer off" that only students and teachers enjoy. It is my hope that next summer I will be able to find a job relatively quickly after my internship ends, since those student loans wait for no woman. Body, mind and soul I am exhausted after five years of scientific academia: three years of working full-time and taking chemistry prerequisites at night, followed by an intense two years of Master's degree coursework and three part-time jobs.
So far I am planning on working this summer 15 or so hours a week for the dietitian I have assisted all year, with a few weekends of handing out samples of Larabars at health fairs. I have also been offered a part-time position assisting a cooking class for kids at the local co-op. I'm sure the job would be fun, and in uncertain financial times it is difficult to say no to a paying job. Nevertheless, I'm leaning toward turning it down. I want to focus on the things that have gotten left behind in the past five years. I want to dust off my poor neglected flute and see if my fingers remember how to play. I want to sing something other than karaoke. I want to enjoy my friends, lay in the sunshine and read trashy novels. I want to cook something that takes longer than twenty minutes, weed my garden properly and play with my chickens. I want to start writing the novel that has been in my head for three years, and start working on pitch letters for writing nutrition articles. I want to be able to spend an entire day in my pajamas watching girly movies. I want a house that is clean for longer than two days in a row, and closets that are organized and free of clothes that haven't fit since the start of the millennium. I want to exercise every day and walk around Greenlake in the middle of the week when there is actually parking available. I need some time to restore, repair and breathe before the next round of insanity that is my life begins. And so for the first time in many years, I'm saying no to the more practical option of working more and doing more, and saying yes to time and space and me.