Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Rest of my Life

Done! Done! Finally!! [Or, as my sixth grade classmate mis-read in the famous MLK speech: "thank God immediately, done at last." Hee.]

Of course, done is never really done; there are books to be ordered, an article to write, a tenure file to assemble, and more pressingly, programmatic assessment to be done. Sigh. Regardless, all of this comes with the blessed benefit of NO INTERACTIONS WITH STUDENTS, which I desperately need at this point. I love them, for the most part, but damn, I need a break from having to work to understand and nurture their ideas.

So as summer really descends upon me, I find that I'm asking myself the question I always hit during this spoke in the academic cycle: what am I doing with the rest of my life? Generally, my angsty articulation of this question runs toward the long-term trajectory, i.e., where am I going to be in 20 years? But the summer brings about the other meaning of the question, i.e., what am I doing with the parts of my life that aren't my job?

There's something about the 9 month academic cycle that prevents me from engaging this second one with any amount of significant attention. Throughout the year, I tend to oscillate between two metaphors, both involving enormous boulders. I'm either A) pushing the giant boulder up a hill, a la Sisyphus, or B) running frantically as the giant boulder comes rolling down the hill behind me, pace Indiana Jones. Neither of these bouldiferous situations lead to careful consideration of activities outside teaching; research; service; p2p trauma; utter torpor/escape into fantasy to recover from the previous activities.

But with the prospect of two months of "free time" on my hands (even with the caveats above), I am pestered by the idea that I had better figure out what else my life consists of, what other proclivities, interests, hobbyhorses I should nurture so as not to become so attached to my job that it becomes the entirety of my life.

And thus, I dedicate the coming week to locating the rest of my life. [Hey, I like to start small. Maybe next summer will be devoted to building the rest of my life. Let me just find it first, okay?]



Blogger Lee said...

"bouldiferous"? Set aside for a moment the fact it rhymes with Sisyphus. It matters not if it is really a word. It rounded out the mental image nicely, thank you.

Saturday, May 31, 2008 2:50:00 AM  

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