Day: October 12, 2017

This and That

♦ Obvious, yet somehow always surprising: Grading a midterm for a class of twenty leaves one with significantly more will to live than grading a midterm for a class of a hundred.

It’s not that your story isn’t good, it’s that others are better. – A posh literary journal I can’t locate right now.

Also, in not so many words, Science/Nature/every prestigious (or wannabe prestigious) scholarly journal ever.

♦ Just because you can’t/won’t do something, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The other day, a colleague was wondering how I find the time for one of my daily extracurricular activities. Well, I just do. I hate that type of comment because, more often than not, it is a thinly veiled way of saying, “You don’t work enough.” I have heard it more than once, and it’s always from young men on the tenure track, who either have no family or have a wife holding the fort at home. (Senior male colleagues generally say I ought to travel more.)

My daily kickboxing makes it possible for me to kick people who make stupid remarks in the head, should I want to; in particular, comments about not working like a man with no fuckin’  obligations fall under stupid comments; thus, I find the time, and will continue to find the time for kickboxing.

♦ It’s no secret that middle age is the age when, among other things, one makes peace with oneself. I spent all of my youth wishing I were different in many ways; this makes me far from unique. These days, I find I am okay — or at least approaching okay — with many of my flaws.

For instance, I am extremely impatient; yet, everyone will tell you that patience is a virtue. These days, I say, “Whatever.” I am very efficient (freakishly efficient, so I’m told) at doing things I care about; when I care, I want things done ASAP, and do my best to make it so. And you know what? I am correct in that I am not going to live a million years, so there is such a thing as things moving too slowly. I will wait, a little. But not too long, and certainly not forever. Waiting makes me stop caring, and when I stop caring, there’s no going back. (Regarding the stoppage of caring: I am a notorious abandoner of boring books and TV shows.)

♦ As part of the whole “know yourself and love yourself just as you are” midlife mantra, I have realized/made peace with the fact that I crave (need!) constant intellectual stimulation, otherwise I am a pain in the butt. Why is this news? If you are female, there is the unspoken requirement that you get to do what you need or want to do only after you have fulfilled the needs, wants, and whims of those you care for. The two pulls are in opposition, as little children require so much time and energy but domestic life is, let’s be honest, often mundane. I think I am okay with the fact that I find boring things boring, that caregiving is often boring, and that sometimes being bored and wishing I were doing something else instead doesn’t necessarily make me a monster — just human.

♦ I can be quite obsessive about papers, proposals, projects. The only cure is to have so much going on that I cannot afford to obsess. When you have a number of research papers, proposals, and now stories, all being in review at the same time, along with a full pipeline of projects, it’s hard to obsess about any one of them (although not for lack of trying).

♦ Parenting breakthrough:  The best vacations with our kids have to be scheduled to the brim. The kids actually don’t need to chill (even though Mom and Dad might), as they do it plenty at home. DH joked that we’d get to chill when the kids are out of the house or never, whichever comes first.

♦ I am feeling so much better this semester than the last (knock on wood). The soul-crushing service workload of the last academic year is gone, and things feel manageable again (knock on wood, again). I feel like I will jinx it all simply by admitting that things feel manageable.

How’s everyone’s semester going?