Some things which I might do when the PhD is finished:
- travel. Maybe I'll go on holiday and lie on a beach. Maybe I'll climb something. Maybe I'll walk somewhere.
- get in the car, drive to the supermarket and buy things. On my list are: smoked mackerel fillets; a jar of pickled herring; cashew nuts; a watermelon; printer paper. (Bugger, that last one means I may have to go BEFORE my PhD is finished... ah, well.) There are some things which only YOU know you want, and you only know you want them because they are there in front of you in the shop. Impossible to ask anyone else to get them for you. I occasionally sneak off mid-afternoon and buy things from the local butcher's and greengrocer's, and sneak back home before my PhD notices I'm missing. How I miss spending time in shops, picking out things i want. I long to be a consumer again.
- get a job and earn money; have colleagues; dress up in my nice clothes; make tea for people in an office and tell them about my weekend (oh, how I dream of this). Wear pretty shoes. Maybe go for a drink after work (woohoo!)
- get drunk. I haven't allowed myself this pleasure since... actually, since not that long ago (it was May, someone's birthday, unlimited fizzy wine on offer, I got hideously drunk and slept it off on the way home on the train. It was wonderful.)
- write stories. Not sensible PhD type things, not academic articles, but stories. The crazier, the better. To celebrate the fact that I no longer have to follow a 'style sheet', I might leave a page blank in the middle of the story now and again, or have just one word on the first page, or add a random illustration. To get over my frustrations at forever being told that what I write is too anecdotal and descriptive, and to honour these under-appreciated skillz, I may title my first book: 'Anecdotal'. (it would also mean that alphabetically it's at the top of all the book lists.)
- sign up for a course. NOT an intellectual, academic course. I would love to do an evening class again, the type where you sit with people half your age and learn secret tricks that professionals know. My Wish List includes: a car mechanics course; a massage/ beauty course; a Foundation Art course; flying lessons. I WANT ALL OF THESE THINGS, and more. One day I will have done them all.
- cook. I do a bit of cheeky cooking, on the sly, knowing perfectly well that I'm not allowed to, that I should be checking some footnotes or something. (if my supervisors could see how i spent my afternoon today...) But I would love to know that I am allowed to cook, in the evening, or on a Saturday, and that I can just crack open a bottle of wine (one glass for me, one glass for the pot) and make my own particular brand of magic happen.
- go out in the evenings sometimes. Suggest going out in the evenings of my own accord. Meet up with people in the evenings and talk to them. Go out of my way to spend time with loved ones.
- have weekends; sometimes even have lie-ins.
- waste time. spend time just staring into space, not doing anything. not planning anything, not intending to be anywhere. Just me on my own, with my own thoughts, uninterrupted by these crazed, alien thoughts of how much PhD I have or have not done.
- maybe do something useful in the world, like volunteer and help someone (which I have done before and which was fun). buy tins of food and take them to a food bank. help out in a charity shop for a couple of hours. volunteer for Nightline, or The Samaritans.
- get a haircut.
In writing this wish list (which is not yet finished, by the way, because I have many more wishes) I am pleased to discover that some of these things I have already managed to do, and keep doing, even recently, even now, even as I finish my PhD. I have lived a full and happy life. I have not missed out. My life has been full of joys.