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Jewish Journal

What Next

by Beit T'shuvah

October 23, 2013 | 4:01 pm

By Dean Steinberg

So here I am, a Doctor: the thing I have been working on for a good seven years. Actually I finished classes right on time (albeit a short leave of absence to do some prison time, but I'm sure that’s fairly common in the doctoral student body across various universities), but it was that damn dissertation which was a real pain in the ass.  That added all the extra years, and when I say pain in the ass, I mean it in the most painful, annoying, miserable way. Think hemorrhoid, the size of a baseball. The last thing I thought of before I went to sleep, and the first thing I thought of when I woke up. The big shocker turned out to be that all this thinking about the paper did nothing towards getting it finished. I actually had to sit down, do research, and write, to accomplish that. I know, what the fuck, how annoying?

Anyway, done and done. So where's the parade, the fireworks, even a congratulations lay? Nope. Just time to move on to the next thing. And wouldn’t you know, the next thing comes with a whole new set of anxieties, worries, and of course...procrastination.

Judaic law states that we must continually learn up until the day we die, and if we stop learning then it is as if we are dead. So I guess I am a really law abiding Jew because I keep placing new goals and pushing myself in unknown areas.  I seem to be achieving them—Masters, Doctorate, Homeowner—but it does appear to take years to do it and at this rate I am going to be too old soon to enjoy any of this shit. 

I do look around though, and see those who stop learning, or striving to improve, and simply enjoy the shit they already have, but they don't seem to be enjoying it all that much. They do eat a lot though, and man can they talk about restaurants. But that's not me. And if I can't get shitfaced, restaurants get boring after I have finished my meal. So that leaves me to strive to incorporate new things into my life. Yes, it brings with it fear, anxiety, sometimes feelings of shame, but when I'm in it, even when I'm feeling all those unpleasant emotions, I'm not bored. I think I'll take anything over being bored.

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