I Do What I Want

Doing What We Want | New Faculty

Thanksgiving was a different break for me this year. I typically take the whole week off and get in the car or on a plane as soon as I can and head to the north AKA: the motherland for a week of fun, cooking, seeing friends, eating like a boss, and wearing elastic waist band pants. This year: I didn’t go 35 miles in any direction and my couch and I reignited our longstanding and might I add, passionate relationship. I did rekindle my relationship with elastic waist pants when ever possible so I’m happy to at least be consistent. My family is celebrating at a different time due to a lot of planning and it was just easier since we’re geographically spread out now.

IT FELT AWESOME!!!

Doing What We Want | New Faculty

This fall tuckered me out. I’m sure that like you, the burn had never been stronger and my desire to melt into the cushions of comfort were insurmountable. I worked M/T but Wednesday….that day was mine. I told myself “you shalt do as little as possible and only things that you want to do” and I actually listened to myself for once.

I:

  • watched tv until 1 p.m.
  • worked on a new holiday wreath for my front door
  • ate a real breakfast
  • drank more coffee than I needed
  • played candy crush

And it was wonderful….

I did not answer email, do any work, fret over the things with which I cannot control, or much of anything work related on Wednesday or my break as a whole. I took the luxurious gift of time and did what I wanted for several days.

I spent Thanksgiving with friends. Not having to prepare a meal was a nice change and my pioneer woman green bean casserole was the only slaving over the stove I did all day. I finished my wreath. I played more candy crush.

Friday, I went to the mens basketball game. I love college basketball. Let me repeat: I LOVE college basketball. It’s my favorite.  I went to lunch with a friend of mine and I even gave into the hype and was at Walmart at 8 a.m. to get the amazing deal on the iphone. Yes, I gave into the commercialism because the price could NOT be beat…and I love it. Many thanks to the kind employees of the store who let all of us come back throughout the day to activate the phones instead of standing in the line because the computer terminals were all backed up. I went back after the game to no line and was out the door in less than an hour with a new phone and some groceries with my bangin’ gift card.

Saturday, I had a list of things I wanted to get done in preparation for my upcoming family meet up. Baking and some pre-cooking, decorating my house because I love Christmas, putting up my fresh mini tree, and finally: cleaning up the house. While the list is mundane, I find great satisfaction in tasks like this. The results are often immediate and there is no one trying to micromanage my productivity. I ended the day with a meal out with a friend and returned to my couch.

Sunday, my cognitive “nnnooooooooo!!!” began with yoga in the morning, food prep for the week, laundry, and the Hunger Games movie. I came home after that ready to shoot an arrow at the imaginary dome but decided against it and made a huge meatloaf that was supposed to be meatballs but was too lazy to roll meatballs.

Why do I share my days with you? Because we often struggle to find that balance of any sort due to technology and our own inner voice that says things like “work more, publish more, shouldn’t you be doing_____?” and we forget that we do have a life. Even if it’s time with our couch, loved ones, enjoying nature, reading a good book that’s not academic, sitting quietly for a few moments each day, and taking the time to take good care of our physical and mental selves, we neglect ourselves first.

I begrudgingly opened my email Sunday night and answered the ones I needed to in order to get my calendar in order for the week and those who were waiting on me. The town began to wake with the 30,000 students returning and the next two weeks will be a race to the finish.

I cannot be anything but thankful for a few days of respite from the grind, some quality quiet time, and most of all: doing what I wanted to do for a few days. While we have the luxury as academics to often create our own schedules and conduct our own research it still can feel stifling from time-to-time trying to live up to the expectations of our students, our departments, and our own expectations. For a few days at a time, it’s nice to have the luxury of only being accountable to ourselves, even if it becoming the queen of our couch and sweatpants.

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