"Cage me like an animal
A crown of gems and gold
Eat me like a cannibal
Chase the neon throne
Breathe in, breathe out
Let the human in"
- "Human" by Of Monsters and Men
Well, here I am again, in a place that feels all too familiar. After a jam-packed week or two of working on my latest manuscript draft, I've sent it off to my co-authors. While they review it, I wait. And wait. And wait.
Don't get me wrong, I admire my co-authors. I've been blessed to work with some really incredible scientists, and my papers are always improved by their comments. From study design and implementation to data analysis and publication, they always have important, valuable things to say about my work. It just so happens that right now, of the 6 manuscripts I have in progress, one is being type-set for publication, another is under review at a journal, a third is being evaluated by a book editor, and three others rest on my co-authors' desks. They'll get back to me (by Murphy's Law, probably all at the same time), and then I'll have plenty of work.
So in the meantime, I'm doing two things. First, I pulled out an old set of ROV videos I had been given in 2013. I never had a chance to review them because I was working on so many other projects, but now I've got the time to take a look. The videos are from the North Atlantic continental slope, and I'm going through them to count all the rocks. So far, it looks like most of the rocks are uninhabited, but some have beautiful soft corals on them. We'll see if the videos prove useful.
The second thing I'm doing with my spare time is, quite frankly, being a human. It's so easy for me to get absorbed in my work and forget to come up for air (case in point: the frenzied writing spree that produced my 6 manuscripts in as many months). So I'm taking deep breaths and remembering to be a person. I'm teaching violin lessons and a dance class. I'm having dinner with friends. I'm texting with my brother about our favorite band's new album. Earlier this week, I went to a friend's softball game and spent the entire time chatting with her parents.
These waiting periods can be frustrating, but they usually work out for the best. After all, this year is the first time I've actually felt like I live in Coos Bay, Oregon, instead of just stopping in between trips. I've built up a routine, I've gotten to know more people, I've become of a part of the small-town community. Guess that's what it feels like to be a human.