...for all the melancholy posts lately. I've had many difficult experiences this summer, and had to make a lot of tough decisions. And, as I mentioned, the president of the university unfairly asked my therapist to step down. So, yay, fun times all around!
I stumbled upon yet another frustrating reality this evening when looking at my calendar. In marking down the dates that my boss gave me for his travels next month, I found that the only three days that he will be available, I had planned on being in San Diego. The two steps left towards my graduation are editing my thesis, and publicly defending my thesis. The latter is the more difficult, as I have already defended my thesis to my committee; in my program the public defense is more of a formality, an event to commemorative the hard work of the student. Friends and family attend and the department hosts a party complete with champagne afterward. But the entire committee must be in attendance.
I have plans to go to San Diego because my boyfriend has a conference there for work and we thought it would be a great opportunity to travel. We had a three day vacation in April, which was wonderful. We were both very much looking forward to the trip.
Now I have to decide if I should keep my plans and resign to not officially finishing things up until September, or if I should cancel my plans and immediately begin making calls to try and get my money back for the hotels, plane, car, etc. Then again, I haven't even cleared the date with my other committee members, so the point might be mute... and what if I go through all this trouble, cancel my plans, and one of them has a sudden change of plans? After the last six years it seems like I should just do it and get it done with... "Graduating seems more important than a vacation," said my boyfriend.
But I feel like I'm at a crossroads in my life. I'm choosing jobs to apply for, and have decided not to apply for many that I would have two or three years ago. Before, I thought that I should take the absolute best job I could, no matter where it was. I don't think that's a recipe for happiness, though. The reasoning that I should sacrifice my present happiness for a better job in the future also seems weak to me; I just spent six years largely sacrificing my present happiness, in terms of time, salary, and environment. I'm seeing that there will always be a reason to put aside present happiness to ensure a "better" future. I'm pretty tired of that, though. My friends are settling down, buying houses and having children. I don't want any of that yet, but in comparison, is it so much to ask that I be on the same coast as my boyfriend, friends, and family? Is it so illogical to make such important professional decisions based on emotions? How else can we expect to be happy, unless we incorporate happiness into our decision making process?
I think I've made my decision. Not officially finishing shouldn't (I hope) really hold me back. I know others who have been hired before publicly defending, so again, that shouldn't be an issue. And I've day dreamed about my defense; after six years, shouldn't it be a happy occasion, not one where I'm conscious of having given up a week in California and unable to have one of my biggest supporters, my boyfriend, present? The logical, "responsible" decision might be to cancel my vacation. But if I don't choose everyday happiness for myself, who else is going to?