Sunday, October 23, 2005

Same Time Next Year

When you're a kid, waiting until the afternoon to go to the swimming pool can last an eternity. As you grow older, time speeds up. By the time you hit 30, time travels at breakneck pace.

Yesterday watching Tennessee play at Alabama, I remembered the third weekend in October in 2004. On this same Sunday last year, I was traveling across the state of Kansas with fellow Indiana graduate students Johnny Sparks and James Angelini. We had attended the annual conference of the Society for Psychophysiological Research in Santa Fe, and my parents had driven up to meet us. We left the conference on Saturday and headed up through the Enchanted Circle of Taos, Angel Fire, and Eagle's Nest. We spent that night in Colorado Springs.

When we awoke at the foot of the Rocky Mountains the next morning, we set off toward Bloomington. It was a beautiful fall day, and the sun was shining. The Chiefs' game was on the radio, and the "home" team was on its way to a rout of the Atlanta Falcons. We arrived in Manhattan, Kan., before the sun set, and I had the opportunity to show Johnny and James my former stomping grounds.

If memory serves, I was a week away from my first job interview (at a place called Ohio State), and the world seemed full of possibilities. That day was both wonderful and tumultuous. I struggled mightily with the question of whether to pursue a career based upon the best job available or a career based upon living where I wanted to live.

I chose the former, and I still wonder about it. Johnny is in my shoes this fall, and it has been educational to watch him grapple with some of the same balancing acts. Many times I have written here extolling the virtues of the academic life. There are many; however, the often nomadic lifestyle leaves the job somewhere short of perfection.


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