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

The four C’s of January

And shockingly, the list doesn’t include cold. Although it certainly could.

I am sorry, as usual, for my longer-than-expected absence from this space. I’ve had less time than anticipated during this “break” for things that feed my soul. Oddly, it seems as though things may calm down a bit when classes (finally) start next week.

So, the four C’s. They’ve been ruling my life these last few weeks… may I introduce Chaos, Catastrophizing, Comparison, and (the desperate search for) Calm?

It was not the start to 2024 that wanted or expected, despite my post on Bright Spots a few weeks ago. Chaos intruded shortly after Christmas and has not let up in the three weeks (what the ever loving WHAT? how did THAT happen?) since then. Worse, it was the type of chaos that, as a junior person, I dread. The kind fomented by senior people who send messages requesting that I fix/update/change/modify/etc. something and oh, can I get it back to them in the next 2 days? Not a request that I can ignore, of course. So instead of having slower mornings, with reading and reflection, and thinking about how 2023 was ending and what I wanted my 2024 to be, well, I was on a deadline to get a lot of things done.

I did them, of course, but it wasn’t what I had expected, and it led to a more anxious week between the years (thank you, San, for that phrase) than I would have liked.

Coupled with the chaos was my usual tendency to catastrophize. Sigh. Why is my brain like this? Whenever I am fretting about something, I imagine the worst. Even small things, like receiving those requests from senior people, or an email suggesting that I’ve forgotten to do something, and my brain spirals to the worst possible outcome. I’ve been like this forever, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t drive me crazy. I do try to talk myself out of these spirals, but when it’s a particularly anxiety-provoking situation, that doesn’t work quite as well. And, of course, these episodes are usually related to things that I can’t talk about here.

Why am I sharing this? I don’t need sympathy or people telling me it’ll be okay. I guess I just want to know that I am not the only one whose 2024 may not have started off as anticipated. Or, at least to know that there are others who jump immediately to the worst case scenario. So if it’s been a bit rougher than you expected, these first few weeks of the new year, please know that I’m out here, and I get it.

I’m not going to write about comparison and seeking calm right now, but plan to come back to them (and my hopes for the rest of 2024) soon. I hope you are all well and warm, particularly if you are in the upper Midwest this week. Take care, my friends. I appreciate you coming here and reading.

I’ll leave you with this one – which was attributed as an “old Swedish proverb” in the newsletter in which I read it (one from the NYT). I’ll let Susanne weigh in on whether it actually is one, though. Why not go to the expert? 🙂

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

(More) Random thoughts on a Saturday

It’s that in-between weekend, and for many of us, it marks the end of the “holiday” week at the end of the calendar year, and the start of the new year. I’m filled with some random thoughts today and thought I might as well get them out so they stop circling in my head…

I’ve had a headache for 3 days running now. I really dislike taking pain meds, but I’m starting to think this beast may force my hand. It’s like there is a clamp on my temples. Sigh. (Update: I caved and took 2 ibuprofen at 2 pm. Let’s hope it helps, at least a bit…)

Which begs the question of… why? I’m certainly not dehydrated. Sleep deprived? Likely. Stressed? Definite. I mentioned that it was a challenging semester, and the academic year is barely half over. I know it’s not going to improve much, either.

To help with the stress, I am going to start building in some actual breaks in my weeks. This includes the possibility of mini-road trips with Engie (YAY!) to some of the system campuses that I’ve never visited. (Most of which, handily enough, are in towns I haven’t visited, either!) I feel like we are channeling Birchie and her Rust Belt ToursTM with this plan.

It has been gloriously quiet around the apartment complex, since most of the graduate students (about 50% or so of the residents) are on break and likely elsewhere. They’ll start trickling back in next week, but for now I am enjoying the blissful quiet. (That said, the Guy Who Drops The Weights [Argh] is back already. Sigh.)

I did a pick up at Target this morning. I got 2 pints of ice cream and lettuce. Perfectly balanced.

Is anyone else finding and loving Substack newsletters? Many of the people whose email newsletters I’ve been getting for years have been moving to them. I love the audio feature – it’s like the person who wrote it is reading it to me. 🙂

(Skip if you don’t want to think about politics…) Anyone else in the US have a creeping feeling of dread as we move into 2024? I’m probably over-immersed in political news (a chronic problem of mine) and, well, I’m not feeling so great about the state of things right now. It does not help living in a battleground state and dealing with state politics on top of everything else. Sigh.

Doing a complete 180 because I really don’t want to be thinking about politics right now… In Spring, I teach undergraduates, and I love it. It’s a change of pace – and energy! – from Fall. Every year, though, I realize anew that their internal thermostats are completely different from mine. I was reminded of this at Target this morning, where the person ahead of me on the escalator had a hoodie on, and I was in my winter coat, one of my heavier (and older – ca. 1999) sweatshirts, a long-sleeved shirt, a long-sleeved cuddle dud, and a tank top. I also had a hat and mittens on because it’s finally winter-ish here. Last year in class, I was wearing essentially the same thing, but swap the sweatshirt for a fleece, and drop the coat, and a student was wearing a short-sleeved crop top. I mean, what? Are we living in the same reality? Am I really that much colder than everyone else?

And on that note… I may step away from the computer and start the new-to-me Kate Morton book I opened (but then didn’t start) last night. Or, if that’s too mentally taxing, I might shift to a fluffy book. Whichever I choose, I need a break from this screen! Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve & Day. I hope the start of 2024 is peaceful and joyful in all of your worlds.