In just under 10 weeks, I’m getting married. For the first time in my life, I will no longer be Jen Barnett. I’m excited about it. I’m looking forward to marrying Adam, and I can’t imagine life without him.
In the midst of all our fairly relaxed wedding planning, I’m also trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life. At the same time I get married, I should (with a bit of effort and luck) be finishing up my PhD thesis to the point where I can go into ‘writing up’. I’ll also be switching from a student visa, the very limiting way I’ve been in the UK for the past 4 years, to a marriage visa, which will allow me to do things like work full time.
So it’s all this massive change. Good change. Change I’m really looking forward to. But still… change.
I need to get my head around it all. I need to figure out what I’m going to be doing. It’s difficult, though. Right now, I can’t really apply for jobs and tell them I won’t legally be able to start working until sometime in August. But I have to look, just so I know what sort of jobs are out there. (By the way, if you’re trying to enter the job market in the Bristol area and your CV is all book/newspaper/magazine publishing and writing, and your doctorate is in contemporary sitcom, there’s not much out there.)
At the same time, I want to carry on with some of my other little sleeper projects. The things I toy around with when everyone else is looking at something else. The things that could turn out to be great or nothing. And that’s fine right now. Right now I can afford to have little side projects that get fussed over every now and again. I have the flexibility in my schedule to do that sort of thing.
Soon, though, I won’t. And I know that. I’ll be working full time. I’ll probably still be helping do the admin for the art business. And I’ll still be doing final drafts of my thesis before it’s completely done. So where does that leave all the other stuff? Or is it going to require me to leave them, once and for all.
Already, days get away from me. Weeks get away from me. I put something aside for a second and realise, months later, that I haven’t picked it up again. This blog is a perfect example of that. It’s not a purposeful abandonment. It’s not realising that it’s been months.
I don’t know what to do about all of it. How will I cope with this fork in the road?
In some ways, becoming somebody different might be the kick in the ass I’ll need. Maybe I can get myself psyched into that. Jen Barnett might not have been able to do any of this, finish any of this, but Jen Mclevey will be a fucking superstar. She’s the type to get all the projects finished, to not put things to the side. She’s the type to live up to the expectations, to do all that people think she can and more.
But there’s a risk, and a very likely one, that name change or not, I’ll be the same person. I’ll be the same woman, sitting unmotivated and overwhelmed as days turn into weeks and weeks into months. I’ll be the person who works a full time job in such a way that it leaves little time for side projects. I tend to over-commit to work, coming up with all sorts of plans. I think big, and work on detail. This is great for the stuff I’m involved in, I suppose. Yet it always leaves me exhausted, burnt out, tired. I don’t know how to change that part of me. It’s more than a name.
I suck at the whole January 1st resolution parade. I made some vague ones this year and they lasted about 12 days. So I’m not going to resolve anything. I’m just going to see what happens.
In the meantime, here’s a photo of a fork in the path at a local park. It should have some Frost-ian caption. Only not. Because it’s just a park.