Just Bee

Just Bee

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it so it goes on flying anyway. ~Mary Kay Ash

The last couple of classes in my program have been kick-in-the-stomach hard. Like the kind where I don’t sleep because I’m on the computer researching and writing and I don’t see my friends much because I’m on the computer… researching and writing. And each course (taken one at a time) lasts two months. So, for the last four months I’ve been in a feeling of total confusion and anxiety. Granted, all courses in this program have been challenging for me – and they should be….. But these last four months – what a… GRIND!

And I feel torn, constantly, between pushing through and letting go. My fear is that I will work my life away without enjoying the little moments in between. The most common feedback I receive from my colleagues and my friends & family is that they express befuddled amazement at how I manage to shove 40 hours’ worth of work into a 24 hour day. They tell me (several times a week I hear this) I burn the candle at both ends — I add in the statement that I hold that same burning candle over a hot flame underneath it, too.

And I think of those little darn bumble bees who work tirelessly, those busy little bees, whose pollinating efforts perform miracles, every little buzz and landing on a flower in a field. But I can hardly even handle my own hubris to try to compare my taxonomies and theories to the creation of honey, but I wonder what is going to be the result of my current pollination? Last weekend I spent over 24 working hours (on a holiday weekend) devoted to my own research and scholarship added to the facilitation I needed to prepare and administer in the course I’m teaching (and my full time job at which I spend 50 hours per week). And, fortunately, I don’t have as much work to do this weekend. But what will this all mean to me at the end? Can I continue at this pace for another two years? Does my self-efficacy match my constitution and my capability?

And, what would I do, say, or think if I hadn’t allowed this doubt to come into my mind, anyway? As in, what would happen if say, a pesky housefly, told the little bee she couldn’t fly… would she still take off and away, or suddenly find herself in doubt?

An older woman I know who has her PhD, and sought her PhD in her 50’s (a far later start than me) gave me the advice of a self-talk she gave herself. She reflected on the time she was putting into her studies and she told herself that (she) could be 50 with (her) PhD, or (she) could be 50. So, then, by this theory I can be 35 with a PhD… or I can be 35… but either way that time is going to come, whether or not I’m in school. And what is another three years in an already lifetime spent in academia?  It sounds soooooooo simple, sooooooooo easy!

At the pace I’m heading I’m looking at graduation sometime between 34 or 35. If I hustle and buzz I can graduate before 3-5. But, then? Will I ever feel enough? And I wonder of the theories about the massive bumble bee die offs…. is it possible that these little worker bees are trying to work on a PhD full time while focusing on their F/T honey hive jobs and their part time teaching of undergraduate and graduate bees?

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  1. July 12, 2010 / 6:28 am

    Dear one – if you don't know that you are enough right now the way you are – a PhD will not make a difference. There is always going to be more, better, smarter, etc…heights for you to achieve. You were enough before master's degree number one!! You will be enough if you walk away today. You should only persue that which really ignites your passion. I know how devoted you were to this goal when you started. Keep the faith – and remember, even bees rest!

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