Working on my dissertation is my default activity. The problem is that there’s a lot of other things in my life which ask for attention. On the one hand, I get frustrated by all of these things that take me away from thinking and writing and studying. On the other hand, I recognize that if I spend too much time in my head, I don’t like the person I become. [For example, I become less concerned about the people around me, I lose my ability to hold conversations about non-academic things, and I get stressed irritated with things that would otherwise cause me little concern.]
So I struggle with the question of how to be properly inwardly and outwardly focused. I have discovered that teaching helps provide a means to balance the focus on study and being concerned with others – but that’s not always an option. Nor is it necessarily the best way for me to balance life, for depending on who and what I’m teaching, I could get lost in a tiny little world of details and forget what life is like for the rest fo the world – those that don’t read Hebrew or are concerned about being Calvinistic or Reformed. And so I have chosen a different option, one that doesn’t exclude teaching or research but instead includes them alongside of a choice to be an active participant in a Christian [new monastic] community. And thus not only is my faith something I talk and think about, it also becomes something I do.
I wonder whether others feel the need for balance and reality checks as much as I do, and what they have chosen to do to create healthy balances.