You may recognise the matryoshka dolls in the image below. Also known as babushka dolls, they are carved wooden dolls nesting inside each other. Whilst matryoshka is Russian for ‘little matron’, the image is often used as a metaphor for family or the unity of body, soul, mind, heart and spirit. They may also be seen by some as representing the layers of life and experiences that contribute to our identity.
2021 offers a new start for me in more ways than one. Having decided to focus on my PhD research (examining working from home and flourishing), I am officially no longer an employee. When I was trying to do both, be an employee and a researcher, I felt that I couldn’t give my research project the time it deserved. I felt tired, demotivated and felt like I was wading through sinking sand, slowly disappearing. In fact, my experience of life at that time was the opposite of the flourishing life I have spent the last two years reading, writing and thinking about. I decided that to be authentic, I had to try my best to live a flourishing life.
To use the matryoshka doll analogy, for me this is my opportunity to grown and learn, maybe move up and into a new ‘doll’. I believe it’s also a time to reconnect with the tiny ‘doll’ at the core of my identity. To mark this, I’ve decided start using my birth surname professionally. Why? My main reason is that all my academic qualifications so far have had my husband’s surnames and when I eventually complete my PhD studies, I want it to represent ‘me’. So, say hello to Susan Reid Elder and wish me luck with my research and my flourishing life.