I’ve been stressed lately. The last time I was genuinely stressed involved a software company in Washington and a overdeveloped sense of responsibility. The culprit this time is academia and a overdeveloped sense of politics. I’ve been playing the “what should I get my PhD in” game, and losing. A friend helped me realize today, through one of her web sites, that I was putting the strategy before the horse.
Before I pick mad gifted doctoral program #1 (of 6-10), I need to stop, collaborate and listen. Who knew Vanilla Ice was a philosopher? Me, that’s who. What do I WANT to do? I chose NYU and grad school even though it meant some pretty large professional sacrifices, not the least of which was working for the best PR agency in the universe. This choice has proven to be a magical one–exactly what I was destined to do.
My dad and I talk about destiny a lot. He believes that we already know what we know, we just have to uncover it. Sounds a bit like Heidegger, Plato and a lot like my dad–my Cuban American poet/anarchist. I toss a certain spiritual, God directed element into that mix thanks to my mother and her mother before her. Walk on down the line. I wish more people could look at life in this manner. It might not be the most productive system, but it sure feels good. Kudos to mom and pops.
I want to perform, period. I love sharing, be it through writing or singing in particular. A doctorate would work wonders for my writing, no matter the Humanities field. I relish the scholarly discipline and the incredible feedback of the academic process. Yet, I also want to share broadly (hello, blog; next stop world) and the academy holds very few open houses. Then there is the music.
I live in a place that is, in my opinion, the cultural capital of the Western world. As an artist and a lover of art, there is no better place for me. Before I pack up my bags and head to another wheat field for further study, I think I need to pause. What if I could be like Bo Jackson? Football or baseball? Both! What if I could stay here, write and do musical theater (plus eat)? My dad reminded me that Bo got injured early–that’s the risk of choosing both. The potential for failure (especially when it is out of your control) doubles. We laughed about this. Academia does not like the answer “both!” anymore than Bo’s coaches did. And yet, I know from failure. I don’t like to talk about it, but I have fallen on my face in EPIC fashion, and to quote from the stage boards, “I’m still here!”
So for now I choose both. It doesn’t hurt to look (and listen).