On coworkers

I’m not sure there’s anything in the world like a coworker. Mine are labmates, which means that I am with them upwards of 50 hours a week. One might argue that this amount of time is TOO MUCH to spend with someone to whom you are not 1) related by blood or marriage or 2) roommates with in college.

The concept of a labmate further requires that we share lab equipment and supplies. If they do something without thinking about anyone but themselves, it can directly affect me. In today’s hypothetical example where my labmate changes the temperature of a water bath that has some of my samples in it, I am beyond reasonably enraged and proceed to silently fume around the lab.

Until I GET A GRIP, at least a small one. Retreat to office, brew some tea (I suggest Tension Tamer), and grab my Relationship Cards out of my backpack.

For some aspects of my life, I have not a single bit of trouble believing that everything unfolds in the perfect way and picking cards today was like that. I drew three cards, the first representing the overall situation, the second the action for me to take, and the third the loop or link to the next level of the journey.

1. Control: we see only what we are ready to see and can only follow rules we understand. So surrender the illusion that you are in control of anyone, including yourself. Let life surprise you!

2. Forgiveness: forgiveness is the most powerful tool you have to lessen your burden and heal your life. Simply be willing. Your willingness creates a space for miracles to occur.

3. Love: focus your heart on your greatest qualities and all that makes you lovable. Your love for yourself is a powerful magnet that attracts more love into your life.

After reading my cards, it was clear to me that, while people who only think about themselves are freaking annoying, we are all those people. Sometimes all I need is a break and a little help to reflect on my part in the situation. Now back to the lab bench, with less adrenaline [for now] and hopefully a little more grace for my coworkers and myself.

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Writing a life list

I first heard about the concept of a life list through my friend Jen, but I never felt inspired to write one of my own ’til earlier this month. Something about the convergence of the end of grad school finally approaching, finding a career path that feels right, and our impending move (to the Research Triangle area of North Carolina!) has made me really focus on what I yearn for in my life over the long term.

I published the life list as a page on this site, and I plan to update it as I think of more things to add or complete things and cross them off the list. I have about 80 entries right now, plenty of room to add things as I need.

Writing my list felt daring. Part of being daring is of course the fear that comes with it, which I seem to be having some trouble with of late. On the other hand, though, I love the idea of being intentional about what we want in our lives, and I believe in the power of dreaming, wishing, and manifesting. Even if things don’t go exactly as planned (and do they ever?), if we don’t dare to imagine how things could be, they won’t ever change.

What’s on your life list?

2012 to 2013

My intention word for 2012 was breakthrough, which ended up being sort of a be-careful-what-you-wish-for situation.  2012 was definitely a breakthrough year for me, in both my personal life and professional path.  Hubs and I did serious work around money and intimacy in our relationship (with the help of our counselor), which was challenging, but largely positive.  Breaking through the heavy stuff sometimes feels good, but the breakthroughs related to my vocation have led me to feel uncertainty and fear.

Realizing that a postdoc is not right for me feels true and good, but it also leaves a void.  In not taking the traditional next step, I have to find a different next step and to commit, however temporarily, to another path.  I’ve avoided writing about it here because it’s so hard for me to cede one piece of control that I have, which is how much of myself I put out there.  By not sharing with the world, I get to stay safe.  If my plans don’t work out, only the people I’ve told in “real life” will know.  Even though I’ve told plenty of people in real life, they are mostly loved ones who seem to be proud no matter what.  This public blog feels somehow a bigger deal and I desperately want it to stay safe, happy, and fun.

Part of inviting joy, welcoming joy, yearning for joy, though, seems to involve a fair amount of choice.  I’ve been choosing lately to give in to anxious, unknown, and scary.  My intention word for 2013, therefore, is focus.  It works on a couple of levels:  1) I need to focus like crazy if I want to achieve what I’m planning for this year and 2) I always have a choice about what I choose to focus on, what I choose to lean into.

So this coming year, I will lean into to the difficulties that will inevitably come with pursuing a career as a science communicator.  As I work to complete my PhD, get our house ready to sell, and apply for internships, I will do my best to shift my focus away from fear.  Fear that leads me to delay experiments because I don’t want to know the outcome, to put off contacting people to interview for science stories, and to take three days to write this blog post.  In 2013, I am choosing joy over fear and focus is going to take me there.

Do you have an intention word for 2013?