So, I have been sort of in a rut lately. From a work standpoint and a personal standpoint. For work, I am a physicist, but I rarely get to sit down and do any physics. My days are taken up by writing papers (not research), fixing other people's problems (not research), reporting my lack of progress on my research, and editing papers for other people (not research). It can sometimes really annoy me.
On top of this all, I constantly am feeling quite guilty about living 1000 miles from both my family and my wife's family. My kids only get to see my parents about 2 times a year and they get to see my wife's mother about 4 times a year. Not all that often. And it is all because of me. I chose to be a physicist and I chose to take a postdoc 1000 miles from my family. Now, to be honest, it was the only job offer I had. Though, it was my dream offer, so I still feel guilty because I would have picked it no matter what I was offered (most likely).
This guilt has left me feeling like where I have lived for 3 years is not home. I have never taken an interest in my neighborhood, the town or the region. I really don't have any close friends outside of work and have never really felt the need to have them. Why? Because I don't view this as home yet.
So, sometimes things just start to pile up on my emotionally. I don't have a lot of outlets to get away to - everything I do is with my wife and kids. No close friends - no hang outs - no nothing really. Don't get me wrong - my wife and kids are great. But even just once a month - to be able to get out and away - would be priceless. It is my fault really - I don't ever make the effort to meet people or connect with the people I do happen to meet.
This all starts to add up and affect me in ways I don't always see. For the last month or so, and especially the last week, I have been incredibly irritable. Snapping at the kids and wife. Don't get me wrong, I have never been a person who really thinks before responding. I say things without thinking all the time. I wear my heart on my sleeve and you can quickly and correctly ascertain my mental state simply by the look on my face. I don't really have an inner firewall that stops me from saying stupid and hurtful shit. It just comes out.
It is usually not a problem because I am usually a very easy going, laid-back person. In general, I am very happy and so that cruelness that I have had lately is so very surprising to me. So, I have spent the last few days - since Thursday really - trying to pin it down - where is it coming from? I think it is that I just don't have any releases anymore. I don't have any outlets other than talking with my wife.
And, really, one person can only take so much bitching and moaning. On top of that, I am not a talk it out kinda guy. I am a let it process and work it out on my own type. I am also the kind of person who always looks for solutions which - I find out from my wife - is not what people usually want to hear when they have problems. They just want someone to listen. I have been working on that also... but I digress.
So, this lack of an outlet and feelings of guilt are sort of culminating into a nasty little rut. What I really want to do is spend a night out drinking with my wife and friends, then spend the next day really hung over. But all my good friends are 1000 miles away. Then I need to remind myself that I really love my job - I usually look forward to work (other then my kids not being here with me) - and that I have a pretty great life. Sometimes, though, I just cannot see the forest for the trees.