Professor Sharon

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Work and Life

September 1st, 2008 · 2 Comments · Musings

Although lately, I imagine there other other bloggers, that like me, probably feel as though they are writing to thin air (or perhaps like my parents when we kids didn’t listen so well said “I must be talking to the wall.”), I think of things to write about. Too often my thinking takes place running errands and by the time I get to my laptop, I’ve forgotten what during the car ride sounded like a quote for the history books is long forgotten.

But, tonight I think about tomorrow.  I go “back to work” officially.  My sabbatical is officially over tomorrow morning (Tuesday).   It is Opening day for Faculty:  a day of eating together, for some reconnecting, for others annoying meetings, and I sometimes think for a privileged few, a day to hide in your office and do something or other (but I won’t go there – yet).  Although Wednesday begins classes, mine begin on Thursday.   I’m teaching 3 courses, and have the equivalent of 2 classes of work release to be Department Chair and tend to our spring accreditation chores.

What I most want to remember tomorrow and every day of the semester is something I heard in Spain:  to work to live, not live to work.  Our time in Spain showed us a culture that values its downtime.  There was no harm, no embarrassment, no problem with stopping to talk to someone, smell the roses, watch a child play, and leisurely stroll your way about town.  It was more than fine to NOT multi-task.   I have tried to live this way my whole life, and it is a super challenge in American culture.  I try to speak up about downtime, time to think, time to reflect — reflecting is an important part of what I try to teach my pre-service teachers.  Ah, but our culture, and where I work, likes to move fast and hard, and ask each employee to do far more than is actually smart.  But the reasoning goes like this:  It’s economy of scale.   My reasoning:  the organization can’t afford to hire the people it needs to, so we are all asked to do more to fill in the gaps.  Oh well….

But I’m going to do my best to take each task on its own time, its own merit, to deeply listen to each person who I interact with, to enjoy the day, the weather, my life.  My friend Adam, who died at 47, and my colleague, Gretchen, who died at 57, are my reminders that tomorrow I may not be here.   Even this is a bit cliche in our American society — so many say it, and don’t do anything about it.

I’ll be happy to be in the teaching mode again; I’ve missed interacting with students.  But I think my readjustment still has some way to go, as I realize that no matter how I face each day, each of these days starting tomorrow won’t have the slow pace or the time to fill it with my choice of events.  I shall miss my daily hour read of morning paper, tea and a bit of a good book.  I shall miss the other hours of reading, of cooking long complicated home baked meals and goodies, strolling and talking endlessly with my best friend (and husband), and talking with my daughter at any hour of the day.

Here’s to everyone’s first day of school!  I wish you all a semester/year of a little slowness, a little time to enjoy life.


2 Comments so far ↓

  • ProfSharon

    Indeed, it’s amazing how involved folks get in their work, and never slow down, isn’t it?

  • Phyllis (Avalon Scenery)

    Could not agree with you more. We should value our time and enjoy it more.

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