Sunday, April 4, 2010

On invincibility

It’s a good thing I write my blog in English, because I can’t think of a proper Norwegian translation of invincibility. I suppose words such as uovervinnelighet or uslåelighet kind of covers it, but they sound put-together and too specific. Invincibility immediately makes me think of superheroes, not just in the material sense, but also metaphorically. If you are invincible, nothing, absolutely nothing can overcome you. If you’re uovervinnelig it merely sounds like you’re tough to beat in chess.

I think it’s human to believe in your own invincibility. And then it is also part of the human experience realizing you are not, in fact, invincible. You are mortal, and what more, vulnerable. You will run into things that are stronger than you, and there will be battles lost. You may be near-invincible in certain aspects of your life. Some people are such good runners that they almost never lose races. Naturally, this has required years of practice and hard work, but the result is near-invincibility in this one particular activity, even if they may be as vincible as the next person in everything else they attempt.

I will never be a world champion runner, but there are aspects of my life where I still fight the inborn idea of invincibility. It’s been a long time since I realized that I was mortal, and I do realize that I am capable of getting hurt, both physically and otherwise. However, it’s still hard to face that I have limitations even within areas I thought I had nailed. I once believed I would never miss a deadline. It didn’t matter how close to the time limit I got – somehow I’d always pull through. I’ve written essays in the early morning hours before handing them in. It might not have been a good essay, and it may not be a pleasant way to write it, but I made the deadline.

With my master thesis, though, I’ve come to realize I am not invincible. First it was the impossibility of making the May deadline for finishing the whole thing. While this felt like something of a defeat at first, I had my reasons for not being able to finish. My stay abroad last semester complicated things, and there were a number of other explanations that made me help realize delaying my thesis was sensible, and not a setback.

Tomorrow (or Tuesday in a pinch) I am supposed to send a chapter to my supervisor, and several co-students. I always work close to deadlines, always wondering whether I’ll make it in time. This time, however, (regardless of the fact that I always say “this time it’s different”) it’s different. Well, it is! Almost always, the reason I am late is that I procrastinate. I suppose it is fair to admit that I have done so this time as well. But far less than what I normally do. Also, all procrastination aside, I have put down countless hours working on this. I’ve worked like a hero, and half killed myself in the process.

And yet. It’s not enough. I seriously don’t expect to send anything at all tomorrow (or Tuesday). It’s just not finished. I simply was not able to do it. I will have missed a deadline (which will be something like my first, ever). The explanation is that I overestimated my own capacity and underestimated the time and work this chapter required. I am not invincible. I am no superhero. Not even when it comes to finishing things on time.


M.J. Nicholls said...

Yes you are. How else could you have survived Dr. Doom's custard gammatron death ray? Or Magneto's smiley zappy photon laser thingy?

How long is this thesis, anyway? I want to have my WiP nailed by June, so the race is on. I have the superpower of owiueuowihgew, which can bend seconds into infinity.

Watch out, a meteorite!

Cruella Collett said...

Mlnæ... I'm complaining way too much considering the meagre lenght of my expected thesis. If June is your deadline you will beat me by a dinosaur-lenght, because since my due-date is in November I will, by default, not finish anything at all until then. I'd love to race, but I am a turtle and you're a owiueuowihgew-infused rabbit. (Or was it a tortoise and a hare?)

I had forgotten about surviving Dr. Doom and Magneto, though - thank you for reminding me - my vincibility may have to be reconsidered. I am even still considering the possibility of meeting my deadline and thus giving vincibility one further punch on its metaphorical nose. Which means I'll have to stop playing on the internet and start playing with scarse water supply in the Jordan River basin. Oh, joy.

Watery Tart said...

Mari-you will get there. It DOES help to realize that now and then you need to be a little flexible with the deadlines on the pieces.

Mark-what exactly is this owiueuowihgew, and how do I get some? My only superpower is misattributing... I am open to considering a race though. I have one book with 10 chapters left that I REALLY want done by June, and possibly a second book that will be on contract for MONEY that would then take precedent.

Cruella Collett said...

Tami - thanks for the support. I sort of made the deadline. Meaning I sent it late and it was unfinishied, but two days ago I didn't even think I'd have anything to send at all. So better than expected, worse than what I normally would expect of me.
But it is just a draft. And the only think that is hurt by sending it, is my pride.

Cruella Collett said...

Thing, silly, not think. We tried that, and look where it got us. Now go do a little dance for having sent the blyddo mess, and forget about it untilllll Thursday!

Anonymous said...

Methinks a little post-thesis-sending inebriation has taken place. :)

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