I finally took a sweep though the sad little trickle of German jobs this year and remembered how my heart would pound in my throat when the first day of the MLA list came out. The way I’d inwardly psych myself up to live forever in a random assortment of cities and towns to which I had no connection. The way I’d nearly faint if a job came up somewhere I would actually want to be on purpose. The way I knew in my deepest soul that I would move anywhere they’d tell me, if only they’d let me into their club.
That all seems so far away now.
Not just because I have a kid, and other more banal and pressing things to worry about, such as how to keep a very determined small human from attempting to swim in the terlet.
Not just because I work freelance now and could move literally anywhere I wanted in the world (i.e. Somehow I still live in St. Louis by PERSONAL CHOICE).
But also because it’s been years now, multiple years, since the job market ruled my every waking second (and caused an increasingly awful series of nervous breakdowns this time every year), and I have healed.
I have healed.
Does some of my 2013 prose now embarrass me, as people insisted it would? Meh, not really. If only because I know that at this time of year my “back catalogue” has itself staved off a nervous breakdown or two (and I have the emails to prove it!). But I’m over it. I am. I’m over academia. I’m largely over writing about academia, and only do so when a news event or subject arises that I believe I have a truly memorable “take” on.
I’m over all of it. I don’t know if it’s the kid, or the time, or the luck I’ve had as a commercial writer, or the light-headedness from the norovirus, but I am grateful. We’ve come to the end of our epic paternity-leave adventure and are headed home tomorrow, to whatever passes as normal for this stage of our lives, and I’m grateful.
I’ll be back on Slate and Vitae early in January, and have a pub date for my book (the real one!) soon thereafter. To those of you still in the academic job-market misery cycle, I send you wishes of luck and hugs for the godforsaken conferences you’re about to waste $1000 attending. I’d be there to cheer you up if I could get in without paying, I could bring my daughters’ grandmothers along to make her give zero fucks about my whereabouts, and it was located in Costa fucking Rica.