Four more days

I came across a word this weekend – a German word, no less (hi, San!) – that captures everything about this time of year for faculty. Torschlusspanik. According to the person who wrote the column, it means, literally, “gate close panic”. (San can, hopefully, back this up? It’s the same definition given on Wiktionary and what seems to be an actual German site, the local.) This person put it in the context of the end of the academic year – the rush to finish everything from the academic year so one can shift into the summer term (or summer break) feeling as though one has ticked all the boxes. Some of those boxes must be ticked – entering student grades, for example. But we somehow manage to make it worse (of course). We cram as many things into the last week before summer that we can. Like meetings that start at 1 pm on Friday – literally, the last day of the semester for faculty.

That’s life right now. Four more days. I’m taking a bit of a break next week, then back to teach and work over the summer.

I hope you are hanging in there, all of you. I know there are a lot of heavy things you are all carrying with you (or lugging, as the wonderful Elisabeth described). I’ll be over here experiencing Torschlusspanik and thinking of you, my friends.

Dipping a toe

I know this space has been quiet. I haven’t written for months. And I did consider just… not coming back. It’s been an interesting few months, months during which I questioned my place here, and what, if anything, I had to contribute. I love reading others’ posts, and gleaning insights from their experiences and lives, but have questioned whether I was – or even could – add to the conversation in the same way. Was I just adding to the noise?

Yet I missed this space, and interacting – even in my limited ways – with others in this community.

So I am dipping a toe back in. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking since February – a low level midlife crisis, perhaps? – and considering what was, what is, and what will be. I don’t know how much of those experiences I will share, but there are some parts that I think are worth sharing (and that I am willing to share).

Some of my time was spent delving into some David Whyte content, so I leave this (short) post with a fragment from one of his three Sundays sessions… “How much time do you make for yourself to sit down and be quiet?” I’ve been quiet, so now will hope to share some words and thoughts with all of you soon. Take care, my friends.

The other half of the proverb

Well, we’re 12 days into February, and I am (finally) (again) posting here. (I removed the apology for not posting more frequently that was here in my first draft, as I know what the response would be. :)) Flipping the script a bit, I wanted to share some things from the other half of that proverb I love so much, “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow.”

So, this early Monday morning, here are some things bringing me joy…

  • Sunshine. Finally.
  • More normal February temperatures. Sarah, Engie, and I have all been tremendously freaked out by our mild and precipitation-less weather this winter. And (as Engie noted on Friday), we had a TORNADO. In WISCONSIN. In FEBRUARY. Climate change, y’all. It’s real. I’m not debating this point with you, sorry.
  • (Barely) keeping up with the new CBBC read. Whew. The audiobook is saving me, but I need to find more time to listen during the week. Thank you, Engie, for making the week-by-week content relatively do-able.
  • Classes are in that sweet spot where people seem to know what they are doing in all of their courses but they haven’t yet started freaking out and/or asking for extensions.
  • My annual review is finished and it went well.
  • I got flowers this week, yay. And they were not related to Valentine’s day. No current Valentine and no plans to acquire one for the foreseeable (or, well, honestly, past-the-foreseeable) future. They don’t last long and I don’t have a high tolerance for them, but for a few days, they bring brightness and color into my life.
  • The connection between my annual review and my flowers. I’m totally burying the lede here, friends. My apologies. The reason these two things are on my happy list this week is that this was not a normal annual review for me. I didn’t want to create a post just for this topic, because quite frankly I hate boasting, but I learned last week that I have been recommended for promotion to a tenured position as an Associate Professor. This is a big step for professors on the tenure track. Experts in my field of study have reviewed my work and determined that it makes substantial contributions to the field. In other words, it’s validation. It’s been a long time coming. Fourteen (long) years, about twice as long as the average in the US. While things could still go sideways, and I’m wary of tempting fate, I do feel pretty confident saying that the recommendation has been made. What I cannot predict is whether the last 2 steps will proceed as I hope they do. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that everything becomes officially official this summer, as I hope it will.

I’ll leave you with another joy quote to start off your week, and hope that it will include some bright spots as well… “What if joy is my only metric for success?” ~Sarah Jones

Despite it all – the long hours, the long years – I still find joy in what I do. That makes it all worthwhile. <3 Go well into this new week, my friends.

I feel like the internet could use a hug

It seems like 2024 has gotten off to a not-great start for a lot of people, many of whom are in the blogosphere that we all seem to be inhabiting these days.

So, I’m just here to say, I’m sorry it sucks. I know I can’t understand what you are going through. And, if I were with you in person, I (not a hugger, mind you) would give you a hug.

Remembering that “Shared joy is double joy. Shared sorrow is half sorrow.”

And also, this, sometimes life sucks, and there’s nothing you can do to change it right now.

Keeping all of you in my thoughts, and hoping that for those who are having challenges, difficulties, issues, whatevers, that things improve soon. Love to you all, my friends. <3

Bits and bobs

So, classes FINALLY started. It seems later and later each year, I swear. My new group seems to be quite motivated but, well, it’s only been one class so far. We’ll see how today goes. At least they all seem to have done the pre-work for class, which is heartening. My students are all moving forward at what seems to be warp speed – again, heartening. They are really starting to forge their own paths and it’s so much fun to watch.

And yet, I’m feeling kind of, well, blah. Part of it is probably the weather. As Engie and Kae have documented, we had a long cold snap with a lot of snow, but the last week has been bizarrely warm. And next week doesn’t seem to be any more winter-like. It is completely throwing me off. While I’m not super-fond of days with highs of, you know, 3F, I’m also not really down with 50 in Wisconsin in February. What is that all about? (I know, climate change, but it just seems like we’re seeing its effects more acutely each year…)

Adding to my blah-ness are the multiple days when the world does not line up the way I would like it to. When the plans I had just… don’t come to pass. And yet, I persist in trying to complete everything on my list in the way I had planned. Which (remember) isn’t lining up.

So, time for a mental reset. A reminder to myself that, despite the weather, despite my blahs, that this too shall pass. Or, as Nicole would say, there is a time after this. Here’s hoping it comes on the heels of some more seasonal temperatures, a bit of sunshine (please, send sun), and the lifting of the blahs.

Happy hump day, everyone. May the rest of the week treat you well. <3

I’ll leave with you with this thought for your day (and mine):

We can change, evolve, and trans­form our own conditioning. We can choose to move like water rather than be molded like clay. Life spirals in and then spirals out on any given day. It does not have to be one way, one truth, one voice. ~Terry Tempest Williams