Sunday, 21 October 2012

Hofstadter's law.

Some say a thesis is the acronym for "True Happiness Ended Since It Started", but I think it's not so bad... it's just a very long thing. It's so long, it isn't even called a thesis, it's called a dissertation - a long word for a long thing! Admittedly, I'm no stranger to writing essays, or doing research, or going out there and doing fieldwork/interviews, but put them all together into a very long thing, and I'm a sad panda. My Honours thesis is due November 16th, but that's a fake deadline - the real deadline is so much earlier, because my supervisor needs to read my paper and make sure I get my act together before it goes to the two external examiners. So it's October 21st and "the plan" is to pour my heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears into this Microsoft Word Document within the next 2 weeks.

Notice how I put "the plan" in open inverted commas... because taking into account Hofstadter's law, things always take longer than you expect them to. The thesis is supposed to be 15,000 to 18,000 words in length, but I'm only a smattering of 6,000 words in. I was only 2,000 words in yesterday, so I guess I'm better off today than I was 48 hours ago. Yes, my life has been reduced to word counts.

I think that, in a way, our lives always find a way to revolve around numbers -- if it isn't the number of candles on a birthday cake, it's how many digits there are on your paycheck, or how many hours you can put in at work, or how many words you need for your college assignments, or how much in bills or taxes or the number of "friends" you have on Facebook. I'm sure that after my academic life is done and I shuffle along into the working world, a big part of my life would revolve around money. I think that's just the grown-up part of numbers, bills and savings and investments and insurance. While I'm compulsively click-shift-scrolling every 10 minutes to see how many words I have so far in my thesis, Willi's putting in extra hours at work to save up more money. For me. For our future together. And no matter at which point in life you are, it seems to all come down to numbers.