“I am glad that I paid so little attention to good advice; had I abided by it I might have been saved from some of my most valuable mistakes.” – Edna St. Vincent Millay
I have listened to so many amazing research topics in the Forensic Linguistic field today that left me with this somewhat existential meltdown on the significance of my research. Uncertainty, why I am even doing what I am doing and, why other’s are working on topics that can be easily answered with a bit of common sense. I could answer some research questions because I am genuinely good at it; they are things that I have learned through experience in law enforcement. So are my goals to ambitious? Will someone else say the same thing I just mentioned about my research? I am kind of overwhelmed and bathe in a bit of doubt while I enjoy my Pastel de Nata and cup of coffee for dessert. My thesis supervisor tells me that “I am going to be okay if I want to go through with this”. But, I want to be great. I want this thesis to have significance and at the same time enjoy the journey of writing and all the shitty stuff that comes with it.
Another problem I have is that I indeed have the motivation but whenever I think of my goals, I cannot help but question my thesis by thinking of all these hundreds and maybe thousands of people who are more qualified than I am. Who write better, clearer and are more precise. Maybe who have better skills since English is not my first language. So what happens next? I freak out even though people tell me all these supporting lines like: “this too shall pass”, “everything is gonna be alright” or “you still have so much time to work on the thesis”. How unhelpful it is in the situation but looking back, so true indeed. Having enough confidence in my work while being on this journey takes a lot of practice. For me, it is not something I hear and accept instantly. It has to sink in, like other life’s big lessons. And, for me to really learn is to live and experience new things even those some people warned me of those earlier.
Anxiety aside, I reckon that I will have to go through the writings and research on my own. It will make me smarter, a better writer and more me. I just have to learn to take life’s occasional punches and get right back up. “Adriaaaaaaaan!”
So in the end, I have accepted I will be fine and I don’t have to make any major decisions about my future. I also don’t have to stress and worry about things that I cannot change right now. I actually realized today, that even though all this research seems like a competition, if I don’t want it to be, it is actually not. It is a challenge and personal growth and I allow to let myself dream along the way. New opportunities will emerge and twist and turns will appear when I least expect them. Also, new things that scare or excite me and throw me off my little seemingly secure path will appear. I don’t have to worry about them however if I cannot change them now.
If one door opens, another one closes. I can choose a different path. One that takes me away from where I am at this point. This is a beautiful notion to keep in mind. Looking back at my life I am glad things happened the way they did, even though some events were very sad and full of stress or pain. An optimistic take on life is important to me. And even though I am usually pretty good at it, I know that there will be new crossroads and intersections life throws at me when I find myself standing right in the middle of it, wondering what way to choose or what to do next. I know I can plan things only to a certain degree but in the end it might not look as I expected it to be. It is in a way always a gamble with life. New mistakes will be made, I will mess up but it will be okay. Life is a learning process. Maybe I thought I love my new career and I end up hating it and have to quit. Who knows. The same approach goes for everything else: relationships, things I buy etc. The feeling of uncertainty is okay, I believe. It is just another emotion worth noticing but it comes and goes. Worrying and uncertainty go really well together but I stop wasting energy these days and rather find solutions that can help me get things accomplished.
Sometimes I might feel like I am going nowhere or backwards and running around in circles. Sometimes it might be frustrating and I feel like throwing my computer out of the window while editing and revising. But, that’s life. Constantly striving for something better or bigger does not get me anywhere. It only takes me away from being in the present and enjoying the moment. While I type this my frustrated, exhausted, annoyed waiter is staring out of window observing the passing cars while possibly dreaming of a different job and life.