You know the scene in The Princess Bride where Buttercup knocks the Dread Pirate Roberts (really her beloved Wesley in disguise – spoilers, but come on you’ve had time) down that immense hill? I’ve been feeling like I’ve been rolling down that same hill since October, with no end in sight to my continual tumbling.
It seemed to start when I took on, what was supposed to be, a small project for a local museum here in Cambridge. The trouble is, I can never do anything halfway and it soon snowballed into something much bigger. From mid-September through October I worked on putting together a pop-up exhibition about women’s contributions to video gaming. I researched, combed through the archive for objects and games, ordered new objects for the collection, coordinated with staff and volunteers, wrote text panels and labels, designed and produced. Despite the mountains of work that went on to put it together, it was a brilliant experience and I’m thrilled with how it all came out. There were plenty of hiccoughs along the way, but I felt sure after I saw it up that life would calm down a bit and I’d be able to get back to a more ordered routine. Then came November.
tumble, tumble, tumble
I had planned to spend most of November alternatively writing my thesis and writing a chapter for an upcoming book. In the end, I spent half the month doing that and the other half preparing for my trip to Argentina to give a presentation at a conference. The days seemed to fall behind me so quickly that it seemed before the month had even begun, Jeremy and I were celebrating Thanksgiving and then I was boarding a plane for South America. After an incredible week in Rosario, networking, making friends, presenting my work, and exploring a city that was new for me, I was heading home to December in the UK.
rolling, rolling, rolling
Immediately I jumped into making Christmas – decorating the flat and the tree, ordering gifts, wrapping gifts, baking cookies, writing and sending cards. All this while I was trying to write my thesis, make edits to my book chapter, and develop materials for a bit of teaching I was doing, oh … and putting together an application for a job. The arrival of Christmas wasn’t so much a respite from the continual rolling uncontrollably down the hill feeling as much as it was merely hitting a softer patch of ground with fewer rocks in it along the way.
tumble, roll, tumble, roll
A few days after New Years, Jeremy and I travelled to my home in the United States. Never was a trip more needed than this one. It had been over a year since I had seen my family and friends and I was aching to fill as much time as I could seeing everyone. While we had a few days where we could relax on the sofa, watch movies, and play with the ferrets, much of the time we were driving this way and that way to see everyone. It seemed as though we were on our way to the airport to go back to the UK only a few hours after we arrived rather than after twelve full days.
roll, tumble, tumble, roll
Only a few days after we arrived back in the UK, I had an email inviting me for a job interview. Remember that job application back in December? I now had four days to put together a presentation and prepare for my first interview in over eight years. My interview was yesterday and today you ask? Why, today I’m packing because tomorrow morning I leave for a trip to Malaysia.
tumble, tumble, roll, roll
I’m not sure where the bottom of this hill is. Maybe there isn’t one. I’m beginning to think that life is rolling down and hill. Perhaps I’ve always been tumbling down and I’ve only just noticed it. This is certainly a steeper part but I’m sure that there are gentler inclines ahead. In the meantime, I’ve begin to get used to the jumbled up, head-over-heels-over-head feeling of it all. So for now, I’m just going to keep on rolling.