Monday, February 3, 2014

Week #57: Partnership, And Not Just The Death March Variety

The past week wasn't so fruitful in the training realm. I've felt like I was fighting more physical fatigue through January than I was last winter, but perhaps it was a combination of being stuck inside more and trying to do more earlier than last year. I think my expectations for January were based on where I was in March and April last year instead of comparing myself to last January where I really was starting pretty much from scratch on New Year's Eve. However, last year I did continue to make some sort of progress every week from January 1 through Death March.

This year I feel like I started much further ahead, but have made little progress other than improving my deadlift and getting closer to my unassisted pull-up goal. Given, these are important to me, and I have been heavily focused on them, whereas last year was more about just meeting my goal of showing up to the gym three times a week and doing whatever workout my trainer had assigned. It was more base-like, I think. Aside from my strength improvements, my body composition and anything regarding a bike have been completely stagnant, so that's a little frustrating. Last week I ended up doing some deloading in the gym to try to freshen up a bit before the last five-week push until Death March. Some stomach ickiness on Friday night forced some additional rest, so I'm no longer in danger of overtraining. Now it's just about getting refocused and trying to figure out the best way to balance my somewhat conflicting goals.

Aside from training, my focus last week was dealing with some interpersonal conflict at work and all of the things regarding my fate for the next 18 months. Regarding the former, I am proud that I am finally making the effort and developing the skills to address issues and try to fix them instead of just withdrawing and being unhappy. I'm not yet sure if my efforts were successful, but I suppose it was good practice either way.

As to the latter, it was a matter coming to terms with the options for next year and formulating some if>then scenarios. Of course, plan A is Frank gets a tenure-track position at a major research university that's adjacent to both a good cyclocross series and excellent mountain biking trails and where I am able to find a decent job, as well. Okay, really it's just any full-time faculty position or good post doc that offers a paycheck, health insurance, and will make some sort of positive contribution to his career. Plan B is that he gets a staff position at IU that still allows him to get writing done and set himself up well for 2015 and allows me to keep my stable employment for the time being.

Neither Plan A or B or any of the sub-options thereof are guaranteed to work out, so it might turn out that the best option is for him to stay at Penn State and keep the support system he has now while preparing for 2015. That means that to be with him and still do what's best for him, and really both of us in the long term, is to leave the stability of IU and delve into unknown world of trying to find acceptable employment at Penn State.

Throw in some complications with leases, roommates, kitties, etc., and I go into full panic mode. What if I don't find a job by August? What if I have to take a crappy, low-paying job? I've already been struggling with all of the material things that I've had to give up since moving out on my own, so the thought of giving up more is very upsetting. I know that sounds shallow and lame, but it was how I was feeling most of last week, although I have mostly worked it out.

A lot of my issue has to do with moving to Bloomington newly married and straight out grad school thinking that I was good enough, smart enough, and gosh darnit, people like...well, I'm actually sort of an obstinate bitch but a really smart one. This town quickly started eating me alive when I discovered that all my supposed preparation for successful adulthood via degrees, good grades, etc. was totally irrelevant. I had to start at the bottom and scrape my way to the upper middle as I have been doing for the last eight and a half years. I was stuck with a partner who would never really do more to improve the situation than he did on day one and gave little support or appreciation for how hard the transition was for me.

So I quickly learned that whatever financial or emotional needs that I had, I would have to meet myself. He would wash dishes and fix bikes. I continued to get hard-fought promotions and make more money, but the gain was never really more than the cost. I could never get ahead. I wasn't that successful at going it alone, which is why I dealt with stuff through binge-eating, over-spending whatever little financial gain I could get, and thinking that if I could just win bike races it would make my life worthwhile. Of course, that is why I came finally came to the conclusion that if I was going to go it alone, I should actually be alone and maybe open myself up to opportunity to not being emotionally and financially self-supporting forever.

Then I found the kind of emotionally supportive person that could barely conceptualize previously, and way faster than I expected at that. Pretty much as soon as I met him I was able to share my burdens with him without fear of judgement. His company has a way of making shitty things feel less shitty, so I think that if worse does come to worse, that it won't be as hard this time. I may get a little pissy at fate for putting me through that a second time, but I know that it will be temporary, and we will both be working equally hard to improve the situation as soon as possible.

So, with that, I started applying to jobs at Penn State last week with the thought that possibly getting a job too early was better than letting things come down to the wire. It would be inconvenient as I still have a lease in Bloomington until August and he still has a roommate in State College, but if it comes to it, we'll makes it work. There's also the chance that one of the more preferred options will work out right about the time I accept a job there, but again, we'll cross that bridge when it comes. I just feel better that I can finally take some action rather than just sitting and waiting.

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