While I try to put on a brave face and work my way though the day with the satisfaction that I can provide for my family and see them healthy and enjoying their life, occasionally things just wear me down. The third night of sleeping poorly in a row because of my daughter wanting to read late into the night. The first bit of a project not going as planned and requiring me to do it over despite not having the time for costly revision. A semester where no matter how much I plan in advance, my work just keeps piling up. My very small window of free time. Studying that can never be accomplished because of diaper changes or sudden changes in plans that keep me from being able to focus. Friends ignored, and past times forsaken because of a lack of time.

No matter what I do to keep working and pushing forward, I don’t feel like I am getting rewarded for my work. I’m working for a degree that will probably not matter long term if I decide to leave Korea, but need to work on if I want to stay here for any foreseeable time. This sort of costly hedging makes me stressed. Whether I need to leave  because of war, or the inevitable economic collapse of the English industry (pick your poison), the end will not be good. I’m happy to keep working, but if the industry collapses around me, there won’t be much input on my end in the matter.

Trying to be responsible, and putting my family ahead of myself means I work long hours, study long hours, and don’t see any return on my work other than the satisfaction of a score at the end of the long process of writing a paper. The current paper doesn’t seem to be progressing at all, because I’m too tired, too stressed, and too busy to write it. I can’t exactly turn in a dirty diaper and say, “Sorry, this is how I’ve been spending my time. I’m sure you understand.”

It’s frustrating. I need to work, I need to study. I need to be a parent. I need to have friends. I have time for none.

Why do I do this? Why do I sit down and work so hard to be better? Where is my reward? I fight to keep what I have, and to keep my standards high, all while entropy drags everything down around me. There would be a million things I would do if I had the money, but that money will never come to a modestly educated hard working man that just wants to feed his family and talk to people. At best, I can subsist with my skills, and it’s only through my foolishness to abandon my home country and turn this part time endeavor into a decade long career that I have anything for my efforts. I can hope that I will weather the storm if I keep on my current course. Steady on for the inevitable beaching of this whale corpse of an industry.

The center consists of teaching, and that too cannot hold forever. What then? Where do I go from here?

I have a job I enjoy, with a light schedule, and a few responsibilities, and I get all broody and mopey whenever I sit down and think about my future. I think I should stop reading so many angst-ridden Batman comic books. It’s really ruining my day.