Month: December 2021

Waking Up and Smelling the Roses

Happy holidays, everyone!

I have a little bit of time between turning in grades and starting work on the next flurry of proposals.

I just wanted to say that I feel like I’ve woken up from a long slumber. Maybe it’s the tail end of a midlife crisis, and would happen sooner or later no matter what because it happens to everyone around my age, but it doesn’t matter. I feel like I’d been sleeping for about 20 years and I’m finally waking up to the colors and the sounds and the smells and the joys of the world around me.

I suspect it might have been the dual chokehold of a young, demanding family and a job with the culture that requires absolute devotion.

I love my kids more than anything else in the world, but raising the littles is a lot of work, and it’s very easy for a parent to get pulverized by the daily grind. Now that one kid is an adult, another is in high school, and the youngest starts middle school next year, I feel like I can breathe again.  Actually, I’ve probably been able to breathe for a while now, just hadn’t noticed. It was only recently that I lifted my head, looked around, inhaled, and filled my chest to capacity.

As for the job, I don’t know if I would feel this way with any other profession (probably would), but I feel like I’ve had a really hard time, for a long while, allowing myself to have much of an inner life (intellectual or emotional) beyond my work. I felt like I was cheating on my job whenever I used my brain “nonproductively.” Even thinking about having a fulfilling hobby felt like the betrayal of a lifelong partner.

I know I’ve written a bunch of times about the need to not have your work be everything to you, but it’s  hard, so damn hard, to really internalize this message and give yourself a permission to do it. Intellectually, I am aware of a great many wisdoms that don’t have a prayer of ever penetrating the thick layers of emotional bullshit that I’ve accumulated over the years in order to fortify and protect my gooey center. I am lucky this particular insight somehow managed to go through and land where it was needed.

Maybe the trigger was the pandemic. Maybe it was me getting unceremoniously dropped from a program that had funded me for years. Maybe it was a bunch of faculty retirements and me witnessing how swiftly the retirees were forgotten, like they were never among us.

All I know is that, when I turn around and look at my job and my colleagues now, they all seem so much smaller and less important than they did even just a  couple of years ago.

Whatever the reason, whatever the trigger, I feel like I can see colors again. Like I can take big breaths again. And the air smells delicious.

Sunday Muddy Sunday

Hello, frozen academic blogosphere! How’s it shaking? It isn’t? You’re too frozen? That’s too bad. 

Over here, proposal-submission insanity meets end-of-semester insanity, so yours truly is valiantly battling against the desire to flip off the world and hide from everyone in order to binge-read fiction. Alas, there is no one else to wrap up the teaching, service, and submit all those %$^#%$# proposals, so I have to limit my fiction proclivities to stolen hours in the dead of night. *strikes dramatic pose, with back of hand pressed against forehead*

Tonight I finish grading homework, make the final exam for my class, and clear out the massive backlog in my editorial queue. Tomorrow I administer the final exam and work on a proposal the rest of the time.  On Tuesday, I hopefully submit said proposal (it’s close to done), then have a bunch of meetings, and maybe get a little break in the evening (yay reading!), then I’m back to grading and more proposal writing on Wednesday. 

It would be nice to have a real break over Christmas and New Year’s, but probably not. Too much to do. Always too much to do. *strikes dramatic pose again, now with exaggerated wailing sounds and added waterworks*

How’s it going with you, academic blogosphere readers? What have you been up to? 

Frosty December, Fiery Links

Hi folks, thanks for hanging out with me in November! It has been a busy month (aren’t they all?), so I had to resort to reposts and links more than I’d have liked; it is what it is, and I hope the occasional new meaty post was appreciated. It was fun to reconnect, and I hope not to be a delinquent blogger in the future. I’d like to make sure I have 2-3 new posts per week, which honestly should be doable… Let’s be optimistic!

For now, some bookmarked Twitter hilarity!