read Arcadia ?
I should have asked this a while back.
I saw the play possibly 15 years ago and the thing I took away from it was that the mathematical genius girl was happy, without any need for recognition of her work, without any career aspirations (though that would be a very alien concept for a 19th century woman I guess) She was happy doing her thing for her own interest and stimulation - she had her arcadia.
The reviews of the play don't talk about any of that stuff though.
A boyfriend of my sister - who was a top rate ice climber - i.e. driven to excellence - once scornfully used the phrase "blissful mediocrity" about someone or other (he was a bit up himself, tbh). His emphasis was on Mediocrity, It struck me that the crucial element of the phrase, however, is Blissful.
Excellence does not always lead to happiness.
Start with happiness and if it leads to excellence, then good. If not then there's nowt better than being happy.
I did! I should read it again, I think I have it here.
Thanks for the rest x x
Kitch is right on target. Life, is too short to sacrifice happiness. Academia here is changing dramatically and tenure track positions becoming few and far between. Acknowledging things need to change is the first step, onward onto to the right blend of excellence and happiness! Here's to your achieving this in 2016.