Friday, May 10, 2013

Out of Touch

Most school years I'm watching the days tick down, counting the minutes until I'm released for summer. Not because summer offers true freedom, but because it offers a break from this routine. I end up working all summer, too, but it's different stuff: planning and creating and reading and prepping that can happen at home in the flexible hours of the day. I can pee when I need to, rather than in five minute windows between class periods. I don't have to watch my personal possessions carefully so they don't get stolen or end up with body parts drawn on them. I get to nap. I get to see my children all day, which makes any task feel like more fun. Generally by late May I'm itching for that kind of change, and a healthy dose of sunshine and chlorine.

But this school year has been different than a normal one. It's moving faster. Every time I glance at a calendar I'm surprised at how close the end of the year seems. Somehow this year is determined to advance quickly whether I'm ready or not. It must be the constant forward propulsion of my grad school program, the sense that no matter how slow I want time to go, it keeps happening to me. My whole life I've been in a hurry to get to a finish line so I can be happy. Now, for a lot of reasons, I just want to be in this moment and I can't slow it down.

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Life is good on paper. At least, all the parts of a good life are there: the son, playing baseball with new confidence. The daughter, sticking close to mom's side and spending lots of time confiding about the ups and downs of each day. The husband, making life more tolerable by methodically improving each piece of the house and yard. The happy, stable home. And yet, something about this past month feels too hurried, too much a blur. Never enough time to cook dinner. Never enough sleep. Never enough time to sit and think, or walk and daydream. Things are good: students have been shepherded to another AP test, another school year comes to a close, papers are written and graded and dishes are done... yet something settled and restful is just out of my reach. I'm not unhappy. I just can't concentrate.

Strangely, I have also gotten away from writing here daily. I feel out of touch with something inside myself. Not because this is such an important space, but the act of daily writing is important for me. I wish I could say it was because I've been spending countless hours pouring my thoughts into writing projects for school, but my work there has been relatively the same as it was before. I haven't been more prolific. I can't tell you where the words have gone. Instead of putting them elsewhere I just haven't been writing them. I haven't been able to make myself sit and write unless it was for an assignment.

I feel kind of terrible that I've managed to find a new way to be frustrated with life. So even when I don't have the I'll-be-happy-when-s, I'm spending most of my day thinking of only things I have to think about. That's a really quick way to get tired, and tired of everything around you.

I'm going to make myself write daily again for two weeks, and see if it gets better.


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