Another one of my friends/ acquaintances has finished her PhD thesis. There is a small celebration taking place on facebook, with all her friends congratulating her and telling her how much they look forward to showering her with gifts and champagne and celebrating with her over home-cooked dinners. (I ‘liked’ her status and told her ‘Amazing! Well done!’ Incidentally, I also liked how her message announcing the impending handing-in of her thesis was fairly discreet; it was an exclamation of joy, but ambiguously worded so that only the initiated, only those working towards the same deadlines, could know what it was about, and smile.)
I am happy for her. I actually don’t feel jealous. Part of me also thinks – you know, watching all these people slowly complete their thesis and pass their viva – it makes me think, there’s hope for me yet. If they can do it, I can do it. If they can do this crazy thing, then maybe there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to, somehow, by whatever means are available.
Then there is a part of me that wonders if I am going to end up like Hagrid the gamekeeper in 'Harry Potter', watching all his friends become wizards while he doesn’t get to graduate, or wear the wizarding gown, and instead has to stump about in the Hogwarts grounds, carrying a haversack.
But we shan't bother engaging with that part. I am up and about (having woken up at six; paranoiac habit of the final-year PhD student), I have The Procrastination Bible in front of me (which kept me company during the weekend) and I am doing centering exercises: breathe, relax, let go of the past, let go of the future; notice how ‘it really doesn’t take much energy to just be in the present.’
‘Let go of trying to be in any particular time, and let go of striving to be any particular way. Just allow yourself to notice the sensations of being where you are now. Choose to be in this situation, allowing the wisdom of your body and inner mind to give you just the right level of energy and relaxation to be here, doing whatever you choose to do in this moment. Inhale, hold your breath, and exhale completely, floating down into the present moment.’
Thou shalt not defeat me, my little PhD thesis.