Pulling up the drawbridge

Today is day two of the new, post-submission phase of my life (It feels too much like tempting fate to say ‘post-PhD’ as I still have my viva & alterations to face in a couple of months, so ‘post-submission’ will do for now!). And what have I done with my time? Well, I feel as though I’ve pulled up a drawbridge. I’ve spent some of the day playing with my niece & nephew – always a joy, especially when my niece & I were doing some flamenco dancing to my nephew’s drumming. Much of my time, though, has been spent sat on my bed, with very little desire to be anywhere else in the entire world. I’ve been flicking through some of my favourite books (Vintage Style by Cath Kidston & The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brockett). I’ve also done a lot of knitting: finishing off the stripey scarf, making the pattern and a prototype of a Christmas tree decoration, starting a second of these deccies.

I’ve felt quite conscious of both my solitary mood – the desire to pull up the drawbridge & simply be alone, in my own private world of simple pleasures & indulgences, with no disturbances or demands – and the urge, the nagging insistence within, that I should be doing something crafty. I’m not sure why I feel I need to be making something. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last five years crafting something – the thesis – and now it’s gone, leaving a huge gaping hole that I’m trying to fill with knitting. Maybe it’s because of the current economic climate; perhaps I’m trying to create a sense of self-sufficiency or productivity – ‘Look, I can make things with my own hands’ – even though I’ve no intention of using those items to trade with. Maybe it’s because my main occupation has now ended quite abruptly – after a period of intensity rather than winding down to the finish – and I’m trying to subconsciously occupy myself in a different way. Maybe I’m clinging on to a different aspect of myself now that the work has gone; I’ve wanted to do a PhD for so long that I can’t really remember it not being part of my ambitions – so now it’s handed over and out of my hands, I don’t know what to do with myself. I guess it’s like that with many long-held dreams: you think about them & plan for them for so long that you don’t really consider what life will be like afterwards. I hadn’t accounted for the fact I would continue to live after submission – like many bridezillas who seem to forget that after their wedding day, they will be married. To that person. For a long time.

Whatever the reasons, it’s very enjoyable being able to spend pretty much a whole day crafting (a weekday, no less!) and not feel guilty about it. It’s also lovely to create something from my own imagination (admittedly inspired by an M&S decoration which I thought I could do a better – and cheaper – version of!) in such a short time: almost instant gratification, rather than waiting for five years for the results of the thesis. So I’ll make the most of pulling up my drawbridge & wallowing in my own private universe for a little bit longer, finishing another Christmas tree decoration while watching Nigella & then Hugh in an hour or so (hurray for comfort TV again!). Although I will try to go out tomorrow and re-enter the world. If I stay to long in my own little world, there’s a danger I’ll become the mad woman in the attic. And I’ll probably die under the weight of my own knitting.

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