Thursday, August 03, 2006

Will the fight for our sanity be the fight of our lives?

Now that we've lost all the reasons that we thought that we had...

Oh man, I didn't get California residency after all that rigamarole. I was a few days late, I didn't save a copy of my Illinois part-year tax return to give them, and maybe I forgot something else I don't know about. Now I've got to find out whether the math department is still going to fund me (otherwise, goodbye grad school, hello job market, goodbye soul), and reapply for residency next year (which means, once again, only 6 weeks total out of the state). Hooray for me.

Honestly, detailed requirements like that process just freak me out. I was a few days late with my application because I went into panic-induced paralysis. Everybody has their thing, I guess. I don't get this sort of anxiety over tests, assignments, public speaking, whatever- just over details I'm not sure about. The part of grad school applications that bothered me the most was filling in all those minor details, not writing the essays (though I'll admit to serious procrastination there); if I felt like my situation didn't exactly match one of the acceptable responses, my instinct was to abandon the whole thing. I don't know why I'm like this, folks. (And don't even ask about tax forms.)

And of course that's one aspect of my delay in growing up; I'm hapless (and I feel it's my fault, instead of a stereotypical mathematician's ineptitude at daily life). I just don't feel like I can make it in the modern world; I want to be able to do my thing without worrying about details, and that just isn't feasible for most people. I'm a hard worker, I'm OK with doing all sorts of unpleasant tasks, but the worrying really disturbs me. That's one reason I stayed in the dorms in Chicago all four years, so I wouldn't have to take charge of my life outside of a small sphere.

I would rather be a sous-chef than cook for myself. I would rather be told to do a chore than decide on my own initiative. I would rather that everything except the life of the mind be reduced to routine and directives from outside. I mean, that impulse is horribly immature, but it seems that so am I. I don't want to be a self-directed adult; I want the life I had at 12 years old.

By all rights, this should be the part where I regain my composure and resolution, and continue the Flaming Lips quote with, "Still the last volunteer battles on...". But I don't feel that way. Some part of me is hoping that I get kicked out of grad school for this (which is pretty unlikely), just so I don't have to go through the residency process again, just so I can walk away from everything I love because it worries me.

My entire blog has been more about whining than about ideas recently. I just don't feel I have anything to say, because I don't know anything at all outside of math; I just spout off pretentiously worded opinions. I can't promise my blogging will improve or even continue in the future, really. Please pray for me.

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