As G inches his way the last few steps on his journey to obtaining his PhD and prepares to undertake what can only be considered a huge challenge for a scientist (I can’t think of a bigger one in Australia), I look back at our careers and the evolution of our relationship through those careers.
Now G and I were either blessed or cursed to both be in the same very narrow field from a professional perspective. I say blessed because that fact has afforded us opportunities to travel together, work together and understand totally where the other person is at a particular time. Cursed, I guess because I couldn’t help but compare myself to G at various stages of our careers.
When G took on his first senior role, I was pregnant with L and willingly embarking on a journey that I was excited and happy to be taking. But there was a green-eyed part of me that was always jealous of G’s appointment. I felt that I could have done it better and that I deserved it! I am not proud of those feelings now and can’t imagine how I ever felt that way.
This was well before the time that I recognised any depressive tendencies in myself. In fact it was one of the happiest times of my life. I had a good balance between work and home life and enjoyed the support of my mother in caring for L when I returned work. I doubt that I have ever discussed my feelings of that time with G, I suspect that if he reads this, he will be surprised.
From where I sit now, as far as G is concerned, there is a huge amount of pride. L, S and I will be cheering loudly from the audience when he is awarded his PhD and, in his career choice, the overwhelming feelings are, “What can I do to make this work for him, for us?”
When G first left Brisbane 10 years ago, I was already significantly down the foggy path of depression. I remember thinking how much easier it was going to be for G if he didn’t have to live with me. Now I guess that it some ways that was true. G had the opportunity to re-charge and was not subjected directly to my foggy interpretations of life. I guess that it was easy for me to say that G didn’t want to live with me because that was my way of moving the responsibility for living apart onto him. I remember one recent conversation with G about depression and how hard it has been on him. I asked him whether he had ever considered leaving why he had stayed and he looked shocked and said, “It’s called love, pure and simple. Love, that’s the reason why I have always stayed.”