With all the recent chatter in the blogosphere about the need to highlight the ways in which guys in academia deal with home, parenting and family issues, there has been
little no discussion about how single people deal with the whole academic lifestyle. I guess the general feeling is that us single peeps have it good all the time and that the apparent lack of responsibilities or family duties make it that much easier to get both work and home stuff done.
Well, think again.
As a single chicky living alone in a country where I have no family, believe me when I say that life isn’t all that easy. Examples ...
1. There’s nobody with whom you can hug and cry when you’ve had a grant annihilated by reviewers. Or when you’ve had a frustrating day at work and need to vent with someone who has an understanding and non-judgemental ear.
2. When you live alone, you never come home to a cooked meal unless you’ve miraculously remembered to turn on the slow cooker before you left for work at dark o’clock. It’s either cook it yourself or eat cereal. Or forget about even considering the cooking thing and just eat cereal for dinner. For weeks. Until you forget to buy more milk. And lunch often becomes a granola bar when you just don’t have time to prepare anything and can’t even spare 10 minutes to go out and buy anything at lunchtime.
3. Being consumed and overwhelmed by work can often lead to forgetting basic household chores such as laundry. Nothing like going to work in your running clothes when you’ve got nothing even remotely decent left in the closet. And eventually you come to the realization that the floors aren’t going to clean themselves and the lawn needs to be mowed more than once a month in the summer (am seriously considering getting a sheep or two). And don’t even get me started on discovering there are no clean plates in the house because you keep forgetting to start the dishwasher.
4. And who do you ask for help when you need a ride home from the hospital after surgery? Who holds your hair when you’re vomiting uncontrollably in the middle of the night from the post-op narcotics? Who drives you to work on the days after surgery when you’re not actually supposed to be operating a vehicle? Ummm, usually a colleague for the first one and nobody for the rest.
5. And then there are the countless nights spent on the phone with family in the land far, far away. When they go to the physician and have questions about their test results, they call the only person they know who could possibly be able to explain it to them in a way in which they’ll understand.
People with partners and/or children aren’t the only ones who find it difficult to juggle the home/work balance.
Just wanted to point that out.