Goodbye, Sweet Summer

And in my mind
I imagine so many things
Things that aren’t really happening
And when they put me in the ground
I’ll start pounding the lid
Saying I haven’t finished yet
I still have a tattoo to get
That says I’m living in the moment
And it’s funny how I imagined
That I could win this, win this fight
But maybe it isn’t all that funny
That I’ve been fighting all my life
But maybe I have to think it’s funny
If I wanna live before I die
And maybe it’s funniest of all
To think I’ll die before I actually see
That I am exactly the person that I want to be

Fuck yes
I am exactly the person that I want to be

Amanda Palmer, “In My Mind”, Amanda Palmer Goes Down Under

Since Monday, I’ve been trudging, halfheartedly to work. Summer is over. International first year students arrived over the weekend and domestic first year students arrived on Monday. Orientation began. The quad is, once again, full of activity.

These are supposed to be good things. I love working with students. But now that I’ve experienced a full academic year cycle at a traditional school, I get it. Summer is the magical time when you get to relax and accomplish all of your goals. At the beginning of summer, I had a mild panic attack that I wouldn’t finish all the fun (and work) that I needed to finish before summer ended. And now I’m here. And I know the academic machine is going to rev up. And I’m afraid its going to swallow me whole.

Yesterday, when walking to work, I bemoaned the loss of summer and all of the things I haven’t finished yet. I had a mental checklist, divided into sections – Work, Family, Personal Time – and I wanted to accomplish so much before the school year started. I’m afraid that I haven’t finished it all, which is how goals go, especially when you’re the time of person who lives for goals and crafts goals that are forever unreachable. Ahem.

(I feel the need to mention that this attitude is rampant in the academic culture. Everyone on a traditional schedule assumes that they’re going to save the world, finish their research, and get pedicures every week. Or eat tomatoes straight off the vine and live next door to Ina Garten. Or maybe it’s just everyone ever who has summers off.)

Now that I’m here at the end of magical summer, I feel the need to evaluate where I am. To frame my accomplishments in a way that is more positive (fuck-yes) than negative. So, what did I accomplish?

Work

  • attended two conferences
  • wrote three summary reports (two collaboratively, which is somehow harder)
  • applied for a grant
  • mapped out the academic year programming
  • all of the above while working half time in June and July

Family

  • took over primary care for Nora two mornings a week, while Aaron taught, in June and July
  • visited my in-laws in Nebraska
  • spent time at parks, children’s museums, and beaches
  • introduced Nora to ice cream
  • visited friends in Milwaukee and Lake Mills
  • hosted friends from Madison
  • hosted my best friend from Minneapolis for 4 days
  • hosted my dad from Palm Springs for 3 days

Personal Life

  • integrated exercise successfully into my life, including nightly walks with the family, regular trips to the gym at work, yoga 1-2 times per week (for the first half of summer) and 1-2 Zumba classes per week while in town
  • redesigned and restarted this blog
  • ate mostly healthy, while in town, most of the time
  • made it two-thirds of the way through The August Break

I may not have saved the world from global something, nor did I successfully plant my own herb garden (died in June), or write a crown of sonnets about summer. But I did a lot. And what I did, I did well.

Say it with me, since it’s hard enough to say alone:

Fuck yes – I am exactly the person that I want to be.

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One thought on “Goodbye, Sweet Summer

  1. Pingback: August Break, Week 4 | Breathing Oxygen

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