I often choose to work from my couch. I have found that being relaxed and with my family reduces some of the isolation that I feel on occasion. How does a professor feel isolated? When I’m not in front of a class, I’m often in my office, seeking peace so I may attend to the ten gazillion other tasks that a teacher of any name does. My colleagues have a similar existence, and we delight in the times that our paths cross. Okay, maybe “delight” is an exaggeration, but we at least acknowledge each other’s presence in the same room.
On top of that, I have the text book authoring work that continues (and will, to an extent, for the foreseeable future). With the exception of the occasional teleconference or symposium, it’s usually just me and my laptop. The same goes for my school work, and many of the other aspects of my life. That’s the way I like to operate (obviously, or else I wouldn’t do it), and I accept the consequences of my choices.
Tonight, while looking for an activity for one of my classes tomorrow, I ran across a TEDx video that finally explained my behavior to me. For a very long time, I’ve wondered why I like to have almost too much on my plate, or why I always try to improve myself, or why it is that I seem to move forward when so many people in my life seem to stand still. According to Dan Thurmon, my work life balance is not “in balance.” It is off-balance by design. His talk is enjoyable, as most TED talks are, but it has that something extra that now places it in my short list of go-to tools. If you choose to watch it, I hope you enjoy it. If not, that’s fine too.
I have a song running through my head. I don’t remember exactly how it goes, but it has something to do with putting off self-care to concentrate on work. It describes my life as of late. I’ve had to force myself to exercise or play with my children or contact my family because work has been so consuming. It’s all good– don’t get me wrong.
The success I’ve sought for so long has found me. Boy howdy, has it found me.
It’s amazing, wonderful, and a little overwhelming all at the same time. I felt as though I was close to tears a couple of days ago because I was so overwhelmed by the enormity of the gifts I’ve received. I wanted my family around me, but arrived home to a house full of my kids’ friends. I had to handle this weird feeling on my own– no hiding or pushing it off.
After so many years of trying to be a success, it’s easy to have a habit of accepting defeat. Suddenly the tables are turned and success is the norm, defeat the exception. How is that possible? When did the switch occur? I don’t know.
I’m focusing on the gratitude I feel. For the satisfying work that is coming in waves of abundance and for the money it brings with it. For my husband and children, who are so patient when I have my laptop open doing work again, trusting that things are indeed going the way that we have been hoping for so long. For the happiness of my children, manifested by the flow of their friends who visit and/or have sleepovers from Fridays through Sundays. For my friends and family out west, who took care of my mom during her recent stroke.
Most of all, for the presence of mind and the grace to understand the enormity of this gift, especially after all the long years of disappointments. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for these gifts.