Sunday, June 8, 2008

Brief hiatus

Friday afternoon, I took a brief hiatus (about an hour) from grant writing, so I could prime the walls in the basement family room (and pantry wall). Today, we took advantage of a break in the rains, to head over to a local building supply store, and pick up the baseboards, quarter rounds, and shelving hardware. We never got around to putting on the first coat of paint. My mother-in-law will be coming up tomorrow, and my father-in-law on Tuesday (they have conflicting schedules -- though they're both retired now).

I'll be away at an entrepreneurs' conference both days. It'll be my first of that variety. I'm looking forward to it, though I have no idea whether I'll find much interesting, or much tedious. I certainly wouldn't be terribly interested in hearing about how one fellow got rich building laundromats, or some gal learned how to buy and flip rental properties. That's not exactly my kind of entrepreneurship. But then, maybe it's not most people's. I couldn't really say. I'm feeling like an outsider again.

But for me, being an outsider is a good feeling. I like being on the edge, listening in, taking my view from a different place, having something unusual to contribute to the conversation. I learned that in junior high school, those many years ago. I had had a rough time in elementary school... a really rough time. I was small, always the smallest. And I was young, younger than all but one very sweet (and very smart) Korean-American girl (I hear in Korea you're considered 1 at birth -- apparently counting gestation as a first year -- any insight, Soo? -- so there may have been some discrepancy in translation).

In any case, I joined the group in second grade, having missed two years of socializing with my cohorts. Somehow, that lead to my becoming an outcast. I had three or four friends until fifth grade. Mostly, I was known as it and thing. I learned self-reliance, self-respect, self-confidence. I had to. In junior high, I learned to blend, to be a chameleon, always to be almost a part of many cliques, never quite a member of any of them, but never fully excluded. I think that's lived with me until now.

I suppose that has contributed to my comfort with interdisciplinarity. Who wants to be fully entrenched in one discipline, when you can find a territory to lay claim to that lies between several? I wrote a lot about the dangers and challenges of this approach, and also its benefits, on my old blog. And now, I've left academia. I'm an outsider there, and an outsider in business.

I like being a researcher/entrepreneur. I like the prospects that appear on my horizon. This just may work. I may be able to carve this territory for myself, find a way to make a living at it, keep it self-sustaining, and fully regain my dignity, which has been creeping back after the relentless suction of four years wandering a zombie among the forgotten and abandoned PhDs.

I'm looking forward now. Enjoying every way station. Enjoying my time. Enjoying my life. Enjoying the rains and the storms. Enjoying my house. Enjoying my family. Life really is good.


Lilian said...

YAY! And I feel so, so, sorry for that small boy. Good thing time has passed and he has grown up and become you!

ArticulateDad said...

No need to feel sorry. As Schiller once made the elegant (if unfalsifiable) point: the entirety of human history must have at least been necessary for this single moment to occur. And if so... how much more true that may be of incidents in our childhood. It's good to be me. :)

"Tae's Mom" said...

hmmm... so whatever happened to that sweet Korean American girl? We are all so sweet and accepting- aren't we? :) Anyway, I don't necessarily think you are 1 because of the gestational period, sounds too religious - you are 1 because everyone in Korean turns a year older during the Lunar New Year celebration. It represents Korean unity. So unless you were born on 1/1 (or whatever that date is that year), you are automatically 1 to catch up and then 2 when New Years rolls around. So if you are born 12/31, I think you can technically be 2 years old the following day. I have heard some people lie about their kid's birth date so they can avoid this confusion :) Therefore, there are a lot of people who are much older than they really are in Korea. There is a lot of confusion among the older rural population who still do things this way (the ones that don't have birth certificates). Gosh, or I could be completely wrong.

"Tae's Mom" said...

Sorry about the jumbled message. We just had a very long day.... and my brain and fingers are not cooperating. BTW, have a wonderful Father's Day.