We're a little crazy, about science!

Some good news… for once.

As anyone who’s followed along knows, this time of the year is horrible for me. Between depression, external factors, and now a death of someone who worked with us from COVID, it’s been fairly hellish. It has felt like anything that could go wrong, would go wrong and frankly it’s not just exhausting it’s also had a numbing effect. However, today I got some good news.

Small victories I guess. It’s been a rough few… lifetimes. No matter how much I try to prepare for this time fo the year, it still hits just as hard as it ever did. It seems like it has taken a toll on my body, my “flare ups” or whatever it is that is going on with me has been a relatively recent issue. I’ve had minor ones since I got out of the military, but it’s just been getting progressively worse over the years and thus more painful.

In any case, complaining about my health isn’t the point of today, the point is to share some good news.

If you’ve been following along for some time now, you know I’ve had a hell of a time trying to find funding for my PhD. I’ve applied for fellowship after fellowship with no luck. I’ve written three grant proposals and in the end I took a job because I needed to find some way to make a living. It’s not all bad and it’s what I really wanted, but it was the extreme option.

Of the three grants I wrote (that were actually submitted) two got rejected. One we submitted in August has been in review (here) and that was basically the last I wrote about it. Mostly because (as with all grants) getting funding is a longshot. Well I got an email from my PI a few moments ago letting me know that we got the result.

Now nothing has been made official, but we got funded!

This will provide me with the funding needed to finish my PhD and we’ll be able to get some new equipment specifically for my project. It has not been an easy road and to be fair things will probably only get harder on the education front now that I go from mostly theoretical work to actual experimental work. However, I am really excited to finally get a chance to validate my “super secret” technique and say once and for all if it probably works, or definitely does not work.

After the news I got yesterday I feel like I’m suffering from emotional whiplash. I really do feel numb to the whole thing and worse I almost feel guilty for wanting to be happy so soon after a death like that. I know they are two separate things and we can have multiple emotions at the same time (trust me, well aware of that one!), but it still feels a little weird to go from someone just died to hey look at what I just got in less than 24 hours.

I want to be happy, I really do. It’s just hard. Death is a complicated thing. On one hand I miss my Uncle, a man who has been dead for over a decade now and I still get sad when something good happens and I can’t share it with him. On the other hand life moves on and I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about continuing to live. If it weren’t for the fact that I just found out yesterday about the death of a colleague on our little team, I would be ecstatic, or at least I would do my best impersonation of someone who is incredibly depressed, but ecstatic. I mean fake it until you make it and boy do I have to fake it.

So yes, everything is incredibly complicated at the moment. I don’t know if or when I will feel well enough to truly be happy about the news, but I know that I should be. Or at least I think I should be, does that make me a bad person so soon after a death to want to be happy about something? I don’t know, but I don’t have the energy to think too hard about it.

Instead, maybe you can be happy for me. I mean someone should be happy, right? I’ll come around eventually I guess and in the long-term this will make my life easier. I’ll finally have funding and be able to do the research I want to do. I won’t have to struggle to focus on the work that interests me, so this really opened a whole new door that I was afraid I would never find a way through.

I have roughly two years left in my PhD if all goes according to my plan. I now have what I need to make it to the finish line and I think that’s worth sharing. You need to understand though that I’m writing this as a justification for sharing because I’ve been struggling with the news and if I should even bother telling everyone because of yesterday’s post. It just feels weird trying to celebrate something right now. As usual, I hate this time of the year, even my good news feels tainted.

If you’re one of my followers who has been around for awhile (I know quite a few of you, thank you!), or even someone just joining in, feel free to celebrate like this is one of your victories. Frankly none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the love and support I get from all of you. Seriously, I’m about to cry thinking about all the kindness I get. I can honestly say I don’t think I deserve any of it, but I will take it anyway because I’m greedy like that. In short, thank you all. It was a team effort and WE did it.

Heck, with some time and a lot of luck you may finally get to hear what my “super secret” technique really is and why I think it’s going to be very useful, possibly (if all goes really well) even life changing. Assuming everything stops falling apart around me that is.

But enough about us, what about you?

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