Going home (or back to reality)

Warning: This may be my first TMI post. Wondering what’s coming next? Well, just keep reading.

I head back to Durham tomorrow afternoon. The only things standing between me and my home are: packing up, one more oral history, final “goodbye” trips to the museum and the archive. And what am I looking forward to the most about being home? Well, the order changes from day-to-day, but in the items (in their current order) are: my cat, my friends, my bed/a real mattress!, my church, real chairs and ballet classes.

I’ve spent so much of this summer away from home that even when I’ve been home, I haven’t felt settled, and I like feeling settled. Yes, the summer has been productive and filled with wonderful people. What can I say? I am a homebody, and I’ve been excited about coming back home almost since I left.

For the past day, though, I’ve been a bit nervous. You see, I know myself. I know that I can easily be consumed by my work, so most of the time, I force myself to maintain balance in my life. Even when I want to binge on research and writing, I keep a full social schedule; volunteer; take ballet lessons; play my violin; cuddle with my cat; go to spinning classes … well, you get the picture. Sometimes this gets exhausting, but then I give myself lectures to remind myself that grad school is a job I love, but it’s not a life.

For the last three months, though, I have worked. Sure, there have been occasional visits with friends or family, but I haven’t once worried about whether life was balanced or not. There have been many days when I have gotten up at 7, spent an hour or so finding potential interviewees, gotten ready, gone to the archive until it closed at 5:30, gone for a run, made dinner and then spent another couple of hours catching up on paperwork or sending more interview requests.

The good days have been the ones when I figured out at 3 p.m. that the reason I had such a bad headache isn’t that the archive gave me poorly fitting earphones. It’s because I got so caught up in research that I forgot to take a lunch break, so I hadn’t had anything to drink other than my coffee that morning.

I really do miss my life. I know that my other activities make me a happier, healthier person in the long run. But I do wonder about how difficult it will be to get back to normalacy. The binge has been its own type of pleasure.


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