So what are the metaphors that I have been using recently?
Well, there's the dentist. This was actually introduced to me by my dissertation adviser, in order to illustrate the strength that one should have whenever one is writing a dissertation. One should be able to explain one's dissertation to a naive and intelligent being, such as a dentist. One should explain to the dentist why one's research is important and therefore why one is being paid to do the research. Fair enough, one should be able to do this, otherwise, one is just living in a bubble.
There's also the baby. I have used this metaphor before in order to refer to my research, my writing, my qualifying paper, and at this moment, my dissertation. Heck, back in the days, I remember even extending the metaphor to the act of giving birth, even naming the thing as if it were a real baby.
I also take one-hour vacations every now and then. Whenever I have a long day where I am so in the zone in the morning, and then I want to take a break, I just pick my book that I am currently reading and then tell people that I am taking a one-hour vacation. That usually means that I will find a comfortable place in the library somewhere and just escape reality for a while by being sucked into the world of the novel. I tend to pick novels that are set in various locales around the world, so I take one-hour vacations to different places. The past book I read took me to Russia and the Caucasus, and the current book is taking me to Nicaragua. I find that taking these one-hour vacations to different parts of the world refreshing.
Perhaps one of the most controversial and important metaphors I have is the bat cave. I use this metaphor to stand for the repository of things that I have in my head but I don't want to tell people. Say, if a friend of mine asks me a question about a topic that I am not comfortable talking about, I would say that the answer to that question is in my bat cave, and that the bat cave is restricted access. Sometimes, whenever I am in a bad mood, and do not wish to interact with the immediate people, I tell them that I am remotely accessing my bat cave. I know, sometimes, using this metaphor can get me in trouble, because some people might misinterpret my bat cave as rudeness. But, so far it is working.
So, what are the metaphors that you live by?