Sunday, January 20, 2013

On being effective

Yesterday, I helped Alex in the basement (as I've said, we call this 'avoidance behavior' in my family).  He's about to start classes again for the spring semester, so this was the "last" full weekend of basement work before homework starts.  My job was to chisel up all the old flooring and glue in what will become the guestroom in our basement.  Here's what I looked like before I started:

Clean and ready to go!

I used an air hammer, which is basically a chisel bit attached to an air compressor.  I was on my knees, leaning over the floor and using both hands to push and scrape and guide the chisel as it jack-hammered under the tiles and glue. Today I'm sore in muscles I didn't even know I had, but at the end of the day yesterday, I looked at that pile and felt so good!  I started in the morning in one place, and I finished in the evening in another place.  That pile of old tile and glue was real proof that I worked hard and accomplished my goal.  So often working on my dissertation feels the opposite- I work and work and think and write and at the end of the day I don't have much to "look at".  But yesterday, I was effective!  I produced a real result through my own sweat and determination.  I didn't stop when I was tired, I didn't complain.  I just kept chiseling. 

My pile of tile, glue, and effectiveness

I'm going to print this picture of me, tired but proud, with my pile of tile and glue and effectiveness.  I'm going to tape it to the wall behind my computer at work as a reminder that I can do anything I put my mind to. That I am hardworking.  That I am determined to reach my goals.

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