It’s looking like I’m going to post approximately every six months, whether I have anything to say or not.
It’s the last day of the year and I have spent many years doing the Janus thing about now: looking back and looking forward. I could do that today, too, but I’m not in the mood.
This has been a pretty good year for me, as years go. Not perfect, of course. No such thing in this life. But 2018 was a pretty good year. I got things done. I moved forward.
To be honest, though, I’m a lot more interested in the year I have ahead of me.
I have just discovered something about myself.
I don’t like schedules, at least not very rigid ones. That’s why I don’t like the nine-to-five routine and why I have struggled against that cubicle life for so long. One of my favorite things about life in academia is that there is so much variety.
No two semesters are the same. You don’t teach the same courses two semesters in a row. Even if you did, you don’t get the same students, so it’s still a difference course. There are always new theories to read about, and ways for you to contribute to those conversations if you’re felling so inclined. And you can always create a brand new course that doesn’t exist in your organization’s curricula, addressing a gap that you are uniquely qualified to fill.
This is not something new, either. I have never appreciated routine, especially if it is extremely rigid routine. Variety has always been the spice of my life.
And yet … and yet, every now and then, I discover that stability is good for me.
Once upon a time, I lived in the Catskill Mountains, in a little city (town) called Oneonta.
No matter where I was and no matter what I was doing, all I had to do was look out the window to know just where I was. The terrain around Oneonta and in Oneonta is distinct, and I’ve been looking at the same views for close to 20 years.
Now, I’m not in Oneonta anymore. It should come as no surprise that the place I inhabit doesn’t look like the place I used to inhabit. Upstate New York — at least, the part of it that I lived in — was easily distinguishable by the rolling hills and wide, shallow valleys of the Catskills, which you could see from pretty much anywhere you happen to be. The place I live in now doesn’t seem to be in any way distinguishable from anything else.
Observe the view from my living room couch.
“THE INTERNET GOES DARK AT 5PM.”
That’s the message I just sent to those of my kids who I think will care most. My social media presence will be silenced for a little while … well, for a few days.
Tomorrow, we’ll pick up the truck and load it up. Gina and Kimmie and Frankie will get their rental SUV and pack it up. We’ll all spend one more night in this house and then we’ll climb into vehicles and drive off in different directions. Gina & Co. will drive south and west, and the rest of us will head due south.
Truth to tell, I don’t absolutely have to be completely silent while I’m on the road. I’ll have my laptop with me, after all.
On the other hand, by the time we pull into the hotel south of Richmond on Thursday evening, I’ll be too pooped to do anything except eat, shower and sleep … in that order. Continue reading