Bernie Divall | This post was originally published September 18, 2012

Eureka MomentLast week I had a full on, head spinning, dazzling moment of inspiration.  It was such a good thought that I had to stop the car and write it down.  And I’ve been letting the idea ferment ever since, pulling it out for consideration, polishing it a bit, showing it off to my friends, boring my family, impressing one of my supervisors…

But in the customary way of my world, it’s been really difficult to just hold onto the idea.  There are so many other things vying for my attention – rucksack repairs ahead of my eldest’s expedition this weekend, small boy (not so small, actually – he’s overtaken me!) and his homework and haircut, youngest and her cello playing… just the usual, but as distracting as ever.

The beginning of term is always like this – a bit manic, as we all settle back into a routine, and somehow I always seem to have deadlines at the same point.  I think I’m doing pretty well not to get momentously stressed, given that I’m starting a research fellowship in 13 days, but I have that familiar feeling of everything happening at once, and wondering when I might be able to take a breather.

Because we all need a breather, sometimes.  I realised the other day that I just never take a day off from the thesis.  Even if it’s only a bit of writing, or some reading, or reviewing something I’ve already done, or just sitting and having a fret about deadlines, it never leaves my head.  Ever.

So to make myself feel better, I’ve just had a couple of days off.  I’ve caught up with friends, been to see my lovely new cardiologist, helped with the children’s homework, cooked a huge dinner, and generally tried to get my head round the idea that this PhD life ends in the EXTREMELY near future.

Meanwhile, that inspirational thought is whizzing round and round, as I try to work out exactly what impact it will have on the thesis.  Tomorrow, I’m back into it.  And trying not to panic about looming deadlines and the end of life as I have known it for the past three years.  As I always say, it will all be fine.  But for the next few days, I have an image of myself chasing round the office with a butterfly net, trying to pin that thought down…

Photo: “Eureka Moment” by Ryotaro, Creative Commons