With no real answers for that mind numbing question, I'll reflect on that other moment of cyclical completion. As I hinted to with this, I was invited to teach a design studio this past fall. Or, quoting Men Behaving Badly, "the student has become the teacher." Ha.
Returning to the vaunted land of academia was both a wonderful respite from the disappointment of my professional life and a reminder of why I was so wary to seek out a more permanent place in that world.
It is inspiring interacting with students who still approach their work with idealism. It is nice to envision a project were constraints are defined by program and function before dollars and personal preference. And it is nice to talk about architecture in aspiration terms - what it can achieve, how it can potentially improve its context, the lives of its users.
Granted, this positivity relies on students ready to engage with the problem before them. I felt lucky. For the most part, I had a group of students who were proactive and hard-working. And they produced work that I think they will be proud of. That I could be a part of the growth, is humbling.
In some ways, I felt much more comfortable back in studio than at any time in my life out working. With experience like that, you'd think I'd be running back to the arms of a university as fast as I can. But, let's face it, being comfortable isn't a place I should be at this point in my life. And, well, there were again reminders that academia is a minefield to be delicately maneuvered. I didn't blow myself up, but definitely watched as different sides lay down their defenses. I lived through that once, coming out bruised, battered, and deflated. If my life is a series of cycles, that is one I definitely wish to avoid.
My relationship with this profession, this field, has been a series of ups and downs. It's slapped me around a lot, left me licking wounds and telling myself, I'm done, over it. And again, I've come to that place, where I have to ask myself, is it worth it, or should I imagine myself somewhere else. Really, I am back where I began. That is some serious limbo. And, well, it kinda sucks.