Thursday, December 15, 2005

Identity

I am starting to realize some of the psychological aspects of this stay-at-home dad thing.

My day lacks many of the interactions that confirm my identity. Especially interactions with people, where I talk about economics and policy and intellectual property and things like that. But also interactions with data. And interactions with the written page. (Blogging is not the same as working on a journal article.)

An important part of being a researcher is keeping engrossed with recent developments. For instance, I was following some recent Supreme Court maneuverings bearing on intellectual propety and antitrust. (Are agreements between competitors legal if they potentially fall within an intellectual property right claim, even if they would be per se illegal otherwise?) Now I'm not. Since I'm planning to return to my research career at some point, this is troubling. Will I still care? Will my leads run cold?

I've got hobbies, too. Planing wood confirms my identity. Wielding a kayak paddle confirms my identity. The fact that I don't actually do these things very often means that these things go unconfirmed, unreinforced.

I didn't know I even had an "identity," much less that it needs confirming. See, two weeks as a stay-at-home dad and I've learned something already!

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