Sometimes I am a real slacker.
Or at least I feel like a slacker. Take last night for instance. I have a stack of marking to complete, I have to job applications on the go that Must Be Posted!, I have a meeting with the academic planning committee first thing this morning, I have lectures, I have laundry, I have a partner (hi M.! Remember me?). Oh yes, and I have a blog post due. So what do I do Sunday evening? I cooked. I knit. I hung out with my dogs. I watched television and folded the laundry.
The dogs know how to chill out … sometimes.
Here’s the thing: I am not a slacker, not really, and my wager is that you aren’t either even — or especially — if you feel like one. I have a terrifically
bad common habit of making negative statements about my quotidian needs. This is a habit that is endemic to academia, certainly. Indeed, I suspect it is a habit that is common to the conditions set by out neoliberal moment: workworkwork and if you’re not working, well, you’d better feel pretty horrible about all that. Further, I am almost certain that women are very prone to this tendency to negate the need to take an evening. Here’s just one snapshot of my women just below my age group who are not academics. No matter how many articles I read, no matter how often my nearest and dearest tell me I need/deserve/must take time for myself I still find it a struggle.
Fast-forward to last night. It didn’t seem to matter that on top of the usual business of the previous week I had spent Saturday in a ten hour meeting (no kidding). It didn’t matter that a friend had suddenly passed away on Monday. It didn’t matter that three times this past week I have had to vacate the house with my two crazy dogs because our landlords have decided to sell and the house needs showing. Heck, it doesn’t seem to matter that I’m writing run-on sentences: I simply could not let myself settle down.
So here is the confession: All of my best laid plans from September? They are limping along. (Actually, one of the plans is going amazingly well thanks to my collaborator’s constant encouragement) But I still seem to succumb to the mid-semester craziness, and when it hits I push myself until I crash. Which brings us to pie for breakfast.
I wrote a while ago about good advice my dad gave me. Last night as I was looking at the grading and looking and my knitting and longing to play around with my new cookbook (a gift from my friend EB!) I remembered something my 96-year-old grandmother tells me: sometimes you just have to throw up your hands and eat pie for breakfast. So I opened my new cookbook, made peach breakfast crisp, then made some cauliflower pesto just because, and I spent the evening on the couch.
Cauliflower pesto! (Never mind that if you look closely you can see the piles of grading off in the corner…)
Today is going to be a scramble, but last night it was worth it.
How about y’all? How are you handling the mid-semester scramble?