Wednesday, 30 May 2007

PhDs, habits, and horse shoes

Apologies for the sickly moans and complaints of earlier posts - I am just struggling a bit. I'm doing a PhD for chrissake. Apparently, I am assured, this is normal. You see it is all a bit of a roller coaster - and I don't like roller coasters very much. Not even little ones like the one John Ivers has built in his garden (see below).

Homemade Roller Coaster

So it's about improving one's mental habits, and habits take a long time to develop. It takes time to carve behaviours into our psyches - long hours of soul searching and worry, of telling ourselves repeatedly how crap we really are - letting the demons win. Like smoking. Long hours of coughing and spluttering and feeling decidedly green before eventually it tastes quite good, and before long you can't live without it. But habit forming can also be a solution and a cure.

Henry David Thoreau, who was always rather good at coming up aphorisms, puts it like this;

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.

So I am going to work really hard on all these new habits, like getting up and having breakfast instead of smoking three cigs and drinking 6 cups of tea. I am going to write and not look at it, because after three months in a drawer, it isn't half as bad as I remembered.

I am going to tell myself that doing a PhD is a bitch, and if it weren't, if it were easy, everyone would have one. And that if writing novels were easy, everyone would also be a published author instead of just telling me at parties, that they too, have a book in them! And I am going to tell myself that if I must insist on being such a pain in the ass as to want to try to do both a PhD AND a novel in one hit, then I must stop crying and whinging about it, and crack on! Without nicotine.

Which - if you are still with me, leads to the happy stuff that's been going on in my life!

1. Finished the marking for this semester - YAY - YIPPEE - what a load off!
2. Finally cracked the canter transition and am riding better and better.
3. My little one got to meet the farrier and see how a horse gets its shoes put on. He also gave her a shoe to keep (which is sitting on my desk).

4. We put the trampoline up. A good bounce does wonders for the soul!

Does my bum look big like this?!

5. I haven't smoked for THREE WHOLE WEEKS and have been exercising! No wonder I am so crabby! But there is life after tobacco, and the cravings have stopped. I used to smoke and write, you see. The two went together so well, and I daren't replace the fags with a glass of wine or I'll end up in rehab quicker than you can say Chardonnay - those north American genes don't respond well to fire water you see.


Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Yay! Glad things are looking up.

hesitant scribe said...

hi zinnia - yes indeedy - and just blogging about it, and such lovely replies, had a real hand in it too!

Also, had a fabulous meeting with my supervisor, who has to be the most patient woman ever - and feeling as though I can cope again! I told her the Joyce anectdote. She loved it :)