Tag Archives: believe in yourself

Tough Cookie: Surviving the Beast of Life

“What the hell do you think you’re trying to do?”

I’m approached by a young man.  One glance reveals the nature of this beast – no doubt he’s a type one old money Ivy League  product hailing from the Northeastern regions of the country.  He is wearing a white polo and khakis, his medium length blond hair is permed to the side, Ray-Ban’s on his head.  I can smell the overwhelming stench of some expensive cologne he probably received from his girlfriend’s family as a graduation gift from Yale.  His fingers have the scars of cracking one too many lobsters in his life; his Blackberry is in his belt holster, ready to be deployed at any potential fear of market fluctuation.

I’m crouched in the far corner of a room, facing the white walls, furiously trying to organize the work in front of me.  I look like a mess.  I haven’t shaved in days and my tired eyes are blood-red.  My white cap and my light green button up shirt have numerous salt stains from continual perspiration.  My khaki shorts are stained and dirty.  Drops of sweat fall on the papers that I’m shuffling back and forth; reorganizing; taking notes here and there.

“Hey guy, I’m talking to you.  What are you doing?” he asks me again.  I turn to face the beast and I give him a hard stare.  Little does he know or understand that these papers I’m dealing with are my only possession.  These papers I’m shuffling are literally my life.  This is serious stuff!  I pause.  Hmm.  The beast probably thinks I escaped the ward, I think to myself.  It’s no secret that my behavior is frowned upon in everyday society.  He’s here to round me up!   Cautiously, I turn back to my work, keeping him in my periphery.  I’m striving to organize these papers in the right order, dammit.  I’m seeking peace and harmony in a disheveled and disgruntled pile.  No luck so far, but I’m working on it, so leave me be man!  Continue reading

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Leaving a PhD Program: Part 3 – From Stress to Success

It wasn’t too long ago when it felt like my world was spinning out of control; when the pressures of life turned the mumbo-jumbo in my head into a full fledged jambalaya.  It happened when the initial rush of leaving my PhD program subsided and my eyes got tired of staring into the unknown.  It happened when I spent two long and lonely months in my apartment updating my resume, filling out endless cover letters, and writing freelance while coming dangerously close to developing a mild case of agoraphobia.  It happened when my stint working part time with the Census was over and the reality of my empty piggy bank confronted me; or when I realized I was alone in my journey and

“Standing on a hill in the mountain of dreams, telling myself it’s not as hard, hard, hard as it seems.” – Robert Plant

the problems I would have to solve were my own.  I made the decision to leave grad school so I lived with the consequences.  Still, the instability I lived under was threatening my sanity.  Here I was, in Boston, barely covering rent, without a job, and few friends to turn to.  The pressure was slowly building upon me.  I wondered, was I heading for a catastrophic collapse?

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