One of the things that I find the most exhausting about graduate school is the amount of time I spend saying to myself, “I can’t …” Always accompanied by, “… because I have to …” It’s the constant gesture of denial and deferral that eventually wears me down until I feel like some kind of academic robot.
So I knit.
Since graduate school has bascially become a lifestyle for me (seven years in, I think it’s safe to say that it’s about time I came up with some coping mechanisms), I’m finding out just how important those few moments of relaxation can be. For me, it’s all about the decision: “No, I’m going to knit. Not read. Not write. Not worry about explaining the past tense conjugation of irregular weak verbs to a room of equally busy grad students.” Just saying “no,” gathering up my knitting, and watching a little (or more than a little) internet television goes a long way to restoring some semblance of balance.
Yeah, it sometimes means I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be or that I don’t know the right answer or fail to fully explain just exactly why weak verbs behave the way they do (and, let’s be honest, do you really want me to get into historical linguistics here? Do we really want to trace this development back to some whacked-out innovation of Middle High German or the sound shift?). But, overall, it means I don’t go crazy.
And I have lovely handknit socks to give to friends. Everyone wins.