Sunday, February 27, 2011

Farewell February, Hello March

Two observations:
  1. Almost no one reads this blog (which is fine by me)
  2. Ian and I post much of our activities and big news on our joint blog, Bling, Blang, Blung
Which is why I'm about to get real personal on this blog.

So, if you've been tracking our blog, you will know that Ian completed his job search, was offered a three-year fellowship at Columbia University, he (well, we) accepted the offer, and are planning to move to New York City in July or August of this year. This is perhaps the most exciting and, at the same time, terribly frightening thing we've done together. The other option was a tenure-track position at Wayne State University. While this job had (we think) greater security and would've kept us in the area and allowed us to buy a home, of course the prestige of Columbia is much greater and will therefore be much better for Ian's overall career. That and we're both really ready to be out of Michigan and have been for awhile.

However, a we weren't really counting on taking a three-year position. We were more thinking that any offer Ian would take would be a tenure-track job, thus more than three years somewhat guaranteed in one place, which would have allowed me to start my graduate work in the next year or so for my doctorate. I by no means regret our decision (and it was fully our decision, let me be clear), but this throws a wrench in my long term plans, which went a little like this:
  1. Ian get's offered tenure position at school and starts in Fall 2011
  2. Rachel either gets in same grad school to start Fall 2011 in Psychology program due to spousal hiring/promotion, or starts same or area program Fall 2012
  3. When Rachel finishes classes in 2014-2015 and starts working on dissertation, Rachel and Ian have bambino. 
  4. Rachel continues grad school and finishes dissertation/graduates 2017-2018, right when Ian is either given tenure at current school, or goes back on the market.
  5. Rachel either finds job in current area school or in professional, related field, or Rachel and Ian go on job market together and spousal hiring more than likely provides jobs for one or the other, depending on who the shinier candidate is at that time. 
Dilemma!  In this plan, I have a baby in 3-4 years (before I turn 30), and start on my doctorate in the next year and half! However, I can't do both of those things the way that I originally wanted. So I bottled. And bottled. And bottled. And then, after I exploded into a ball of tears and snot in a feminist crisis in Ian's arms last week, we created the following possibilities:

The Feminist Dilemma Flow Chart



You may need to blow that up to read it. It's intense.

So, after creating the flowchart (currently on our whiteboard by the door), I sat and thought. And thought. My lovely husband who is so kind and beautiful to me left most of the decision up to me. Having flushed out all possible scenarios and their pros and cons (like the planning, goal-orientated nerds we are), yikes! It really came down to the following questions for me:
  1. What is more important, family or my graduate degree?
  2. Do I have other career options that will be fulfilling and viable besides going further in academia?
  3. Are we ready for a baby?
  4. Can Ian and I really last for 2+ years in a long-distance relationship? Am I willing to give up our intimacy and proximity for my career goals?
 I thought these things through good and hard, read a few books, talked to my best friend and my academic adviser. What it comes down to us, no, I am not willing to seriously entertain the idea of being apart from my husband whom I cherish and love. If we were in opposite positions, where I had the degree and he didn't, he would do the same for me. We have been together for three years and have established a wonderful relationship that has a good foundation that is ready for not only the challenge of living in New York, but starting a family as well. Although my first career goal is to get my doctorate and research, I do have other career possibilities that excite me, whether they're temporary or become fulfilling and what I want to pursue in the long term.

And the awesome thing is, after we made this decision together (Rachel: 75%, Ian 25%), I feel totally and completely happy and at peace about it. Ball of tears and stress? Goodbye!

So: pre-conception gyno visit scheduled for three weeks out to make sure my medications and vaccinations are in line, and obsessive reading on my end, which leads me to the next big, and quite personal, topic: weight.

I last 15-20 pounds before my wedding last spring and was down in the upper 120's in the "healthy" weight range for a lady my height. And... starting on my lovely honeymoon and following, I, for the most part, stopped watching portions, listening to my body, or sticking with any sort of exercise plan. And guess what? I gained every pound back in 6 months, which is something I'm not proud to admit. A few times I've gone on a week-long kick to try to start exercising again, but nothing has really stuck, just some shame (and, to my great dismay, an unholy tightening of clothes on my torso).

Before we start trying for a baby, I want to start treating my body right again. Even if I'm not in my ideal target weight, I want to have 30 minutes of activity, whether it's aerobics or yoga in my living room or a long walk after dinner. I want to make sure I'm staying within my calorie goal eating good food - we have been eating out and being lazy in our cooking way too much, and that has to stop.

Today was the first day, and overall, I think it went really well.

I'm really excited. Now that we've decided we want to start trying for a baby, I can't wait to make sure I'm in good shape for pregnancy and for the whole process! Ian is really excited as well (of course we wouldn't be doing this if he wasn't completely on board!).