This morning Biochembelle tweeted:
Sometimes I just need a quiet morning of coffee & reading, even when there's a long queue of things to get done.
— biochem belle (@biochembelle) March 30, 2016
When I was at MRU, many moons ago, I lived in the community where the hospital was located. It was shocking to my colleagues. You live where? I walked to work and actually got to know many of my marvelous neighbors, including an elderly man who loved poetry, lived in the house his grandfather had built and had known Civil War Veterans.
When I left MRU, I was disappointed that living walking distance to almost-MRU was not possible. On the upside, I now get to drive through countryside and past farms. I see animals every day. There is even a small state wilderness area that is on the way. So today I stopped there.
There is an art to taking care of yourself. There is skill to understanding when you need to stop and walk in the woods. And, when its time to buckle down and work a 14 hour day. Its another Scylla & Charybdis. Too little care and one is useless for accomplishing anything. Too much time away, too little devoted to the science and it won't get done. Finding the balance is hard.
Lots of things in life glorify the extremes. I think of this as the Lord of The Rings effect: good and bad are identifiable by the hair, teeth and skin. The hard hard truth of the world is that optimal may lie in the middle and may lie in balancing and, sometimes, may not be possible. It's also the "pure boy effect": saying that I won't sully myself with something beneath me (like publicity or PR because I am a pure scientist). I once had a partner, a brilliant scientist, who refused to go to scientific meetings because "they are ego-fests for people to show off. If someone wants to know about my work they can read it".
If I have learned anything about taking care of myself, it is that I can err on either side of too much time in either direction. And that I am not always the best judge of what is too much time, but then, neither is anyone a better judge. Life isn't, sad to say, a ceteris parebis experiment that we can go back and see if we made the right decision by re-running it. So, I'll just muddle along and be grateful to friends like BB who provide me with a reality check from time to time.