Hey, what’s up? How has everyone been? Good? Busy first few weeks of the semester?
You might be living somewhere where the “Polar Vortex” has struck (or as all my friends and family still living in Canada call it: WINTER) and you’ve been scrambling because your kids’ schools have been closed while your university has stayed open. Or your semester is already is disarray because your university has closed and so are scrambling to revamp your syllabus on the fly with barely two weeks (if that), hoping that your students don’t just disappear because of all this time off.
Or maybe you have a spouse or someone close to you who is going through something difficult and this is taking up a lot of your mental energy. And it’s hard because you care about them, but what they are going through also impacts you in ways that you didn’t think possible, rethinking a lot of your values and assumptions, causing you to reevaluate everything. And you can’t talk about it more publicly than an oblique reference because you respect their privacy.
You might feel yourself being pulled in many, many different directions at once, because you’re working so many side jobs to make ends meet (or at least meet the loan collectors’ demands). All you want is time to sit and breathe, but there is no time, no space, no energy. When you stop, you collapse, because there is nothing left for anything else. Too many ideas, too little time and energy. You can almost see them float away, like a dream as you wake up.
Maybe you’re teaching all new classes that are going well, but you’re expending new and different energy because of it, and you’re just not used to it. The teaching is going well, causing huge swells in excitement and energy that dissipates as soon as you get home or to your office, or an energy that makes it hard to shift gears to all the other work you have to do. Turning it “on” for teaching has gotten easier again, which is great, but turning it off has gotten even harder. Or turning it on for something else.
Could be, you’re tired of talking. Maybe you just want to listen for a while, just see what everyone else is saying, to really take the time to hear it, to try and understand it, to slow down. OK, so slowing down can often be mistaken for shutting down, and given all the other things going on, no one would blame you. But sometimes being quiet doesn’t mean being inactive. You’re struggling to find a way to make listening more visible an activity (Retweets, anyone?), but you’re still here, just slowing down, being quiet, listening.
And maybe you’re also scared. Maybe scared isn’t the right word. Wary. Nope, it’s definitely fear. Anxiety. Things are on the cusp of possibly changing. And change, as the cliché goes, is hard. And they haven’t changed yet. So then you’re left with feelings of doubt and anxiety about everything. Posts written but never published. Thoughts jotted down, but never developed. So many people involved, so many considerations, so many possible outcomes.
This is life, I get that. And sometimes life is easier to deal with than others. And sometimes some things fall by the wayside when life gets like this.