Dear Labwork,

We need to talk.

I don’t think this will come as a surprise. I think you’ve noticed a difference in me, Labwork, and in my attitude towards you. Maybe you think that I’m just getting back into gear after the nine-month break we had. Maybe you thought that my time spent with Science-Communications was just a bit of friendly flirting. I guess we both hoped that making this three-year commitment promise would pull us closer together, but I think it’s just made me seriously think about our relationship.

And I don’t think this relationship is one that I want to commit to.

I’ve changed, I’ll admit that. When we first got together it was magical, I loved spending time with you and it was so exciting making new discoveries together. I even thought then that maybe I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you. During the last year of my degree I’ll admit things were … difficult between us. You started demanding more and more from me; time, commitment, money. I was fine with that at the time, we got through in the end but we lost the magic somewhere along the line. Spending time with you just became a matter of going through the motions, of grinding through the hours.

We want different things in life, Labwork. You want to stay free and flexible; with flexible hours, times and living arrangements. Whereas I’m already settling down and thinking about permanent homes and a family. I know there are people in our position who manage a family but it’s a lot of work, especially as I just don’t feel about you the way I used to.

I know what you want to ask; why didn’t I say this earlier? Why didn’t I go through all this before we decided on this three-year commitment? The real answer is that I was a little scared to break up, after all the time we’ve spent together. I was worried about how my family and friends would respond and, honestly, I was scared that if I left you I’d never find anything else.

Even now it’s a risk, leaving you. Stepping out of this well-known comfort zone that I’ve spent the last five years working in and looking around at the world outside. And maybe it won’t work out; maybe in a few years time I’ll be begging you to take me back. Maybe you will, or maybe you’ll tell me it’s been too long and just slam the door in my face.

That’s a risk I have to take. A risk I need to take. Because I don’t want to be looking back in four years time wondering why I threw most of my twenties away for you. I don’t want to feel bitter and angry. We had such great times together, and I want to remember them fondly.

So Labwork, I’m moving on. I hope we can still be friends, and I’d love it if you kept in touch! I still want to hear about all the amazing things you get up too; and I’ll tell them excitedly to all my friends. Part of me will feel a little jealous, I know, but most of me will feel hideously and wonderfully relieved that I’m watching from the sidelines rather than being out there with you.

Your friend,

The Lab Rat.

To provide a bit of context for this slightly odd blog-post; I’ve been offered a great job working in Science Communications. This means that I’ve had to give up my Masters degree/possible PhD. I’ve been trying to make myself feel disappointed about this, but all I feel is relieved (and excited!). I’ve had this letter in my head for about a month, and it seemed a good time to write it :)