It’s no secret that I’ve been stressed lately, to the point of being entirely unhappy, beaten, and tired beyond belief, even after a nice and relaxing three-day holiday weekend.

Once again, after being back to the grind for a mere two days, I’m thrust back into the doom-and-gloom mode. It’s far from pleasant. When I’m already swamped, the last thing I want is for someone else to hand me their emergencies to deal with on my own, and on Wednesday I was handed three. Needless to say, I’ve not been happy and I’m well over my normal (I think I guess I need to redefine what “normal” is to me) hours for the week already, before I came in this morning.

So I decided that today would be a slow day. Besides the one major experiment I had planned (and was actually, surprisingly, miraculously, still running on schedule), I had resigned myself to getting caught up on the little things that I had let slip (for three weeks… oy vey).

A full ten pages of lab write-up, four updated spreadsheets, over one hundred sample tubes labeled, a much smaller pile of papers and protocols, and three updated log books later…. I feel like I’ve actually made a bit of progress. I can now actually use my keyboard, and yes, there was an actual desk under all that mess, after all!

For now, I feel less stressed about all the things I had been neglecting because I have simply been too busy running around from one machine to the next, tackling all of these “emergencies”, and prepping sample after endless sample.

One of the reasons why I’ve been involved with research for so many years already is because of what research is supposed to represent: looking for answers to questions that will eventually lead to the ultimate goal, better treatment and therapies for patients. That is why I enjoy research. It is so very easy to get lost in the mundane day-to-day lab activities (especially when you pipette lots of clear liquids from one tube to another over and over…) that you lose what the overarching goal is…..and I have been guilty of this for a very long time.

So today I took a slow day to catch up. I needed some time to just sit at my desk (which I haven’t done for a good long time), sort through my paperwork, write up my lab book, and start some of the new spreadsheets. I really, really needed a day to just relax! So on my lunch break, I stumbled upon a blog (well, actually, two written by the same person) that I have absolutely head-over-heels fallen in love with already.

Dr. V Goes Over the Sea by Dr. Rachel Vreeman is my new favorite read.  She’s a pediatrician and conducts research in pediatric HIV treatment in Kenya; in short, she has my dream job. I’ve only read a few posts, but I already love reading about her adventures. She actually gets to do the things I’ve always dreamed of doing in order to change the world. What I would give to be able to do that, right now….

Needless to say, today has been yet another daydreaming day. I would love to finally get a start on my lifelong dream so I can do something very similar to what she does. Reading just a little about her life made me see, once again, that this is not what I want to be doing with my life long-term. Some days, it seems like all I’ll do for the rest of my life is troubleshoot research equipment. So for now, I need to keep my motivation to do what I can to reach those goals. I’m impatient and I’m stubborn, but I have a giving heart that is restless and won’t be happy until I get there. Guatemala has been calling stronger than ever, and today did not help. I know that even if I can’t make the brigade to Guatemala come this October, I will still be making trips of that nature a part of my life, even if I have to do everything step by step instead of by leaps and bounds.


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