Thursday, March 09, 2017

ready for break

Is it spring break yet? No?

Yeah, feeling a little tired/frustrated this morning. Board meeting was LONG - I mean, there was good stuff that happened, and it probably was partly the "shakedown cruise" with a new minister (though maybe he's going to be pressured to be a bit less, um, wordy, in the future). But it was late when I got home and I didn't have time to do much else other than check my e-mail and go to bed.

A couple of things floating around in the world:

1. There's a study out claiming hypertensives, people told to less eat salt, are actually eating more. I find this slightly frustrating because it feels like it's totally ignoring the struggle and agony **I** face because I DO try to cut back on salt. All the time spent reading labels in the grocery (or sticking to a very limited round of things I know are okay). All the times I would have liked to have just gone and got a cup of hot-and-sour soup at the local Asian restaurant but didn't. All the times I came home, tired, and would have liked for nothing more than to phone up for a pizza but instead spent the time, dirtied the pots and pans, and cooked up masses of vegetables instead.

(Though maybe the reason so many people who SHOULD limit salt don't, is because doing that is LIKE HAVING ANOTHER WHOLE FLIPPING HOBBY, and not a fun hobby either)

2. We're being asked to report yet another place on what we've done. It's phrased as "scholarly and creative activity," which I know intellectually it's phrased that way to include the Arts people, but I thought, "I haven't done anything 'creative' in forever" and suddenly felt sad.

not that the "creative" stuff I do counts for anything.

which is why I haven't been doing it.

That's the major frustration of my life right now, in the new post-tenure-review future: a lot of things i value and that are important to me "don't count," and I have to worry about keeping my gig, so the things that "don't count" either don't get done (if it's only me they affect) or get done in a slightly more slapdash way (if it affects other people). That should not be but there you are. 

3. The local weather person was talking about the looming start of DST, and she chipperly remarked, "Well, it's just starting to get light out there now....but of course Daylight Saving is coming, so next week it will be REALLY light at this time."


It will, in fact, be very very very dark at this hour - instead of being like 6:45 am, it will be like 5:45 am. AND YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT, HONEY.

Yes, I get that it was probably a momentary lapse but honestly? A weather person should know that kind of thing.

I'm....not looking forward to DST. The blow will be slightly softened by the first week of it being Spring Break, so I don't have to be up here at 7 am, but still. I can't really use that light hour at the end of the day, but it WOULD be nice not to have to drive in in the dark. (That will happen, oh, mid-April, I guess)

4. There's a story making the rounds about a five-year-old who has qualified for the National Spelling Bee.

This bugs me on several levels.

First, the purely self-absorbed one: I was in the spelling bee. Made it to regionals, but never to national. But I was thirteen at the time, the "normal" age. I remember spending two afternoons a week staying after school to work on learning word roots and stuff with the coach (who, in seventh grade, was my homeroom teacher....Mrs. Turnblacer, if I remember her name right). I enjoyed it. I didn't do as well as I might have hoped, but I suppose in a way knowing all those word roots has helped me throughout school.

But: I was thirteen. I was proud of myself, my parents were, I think Mrs. Turnblacer was. None of the other kids cared (if anything, it was more fodder to tease me with). But, I don't know....the fact that I did that at thirteen now seems kind of unexceptional and meaningless. It's kind of like how I was once talking about how I learned to read at 4 (which was thought to be unusually early when I was a kid) and someone sniffed and commented their little sister could read at 2.

And I know, I shouldn't care. But it's kind of Lisa Simpson syndrome (If there's a rocket taking people away from a doomed Earth, I need to have SOMETHING special about me so I get a seat), and so I do.

A lot of things people thought were unusual or talented about me when I was a kid are now taken for granted in little kids, which makes me think that either the adults were lying to me when I was a kid (and maybe lying to themselves) and that there really was nothing special about me - and add that on the pile that I wasn't popular, was a clumsy kid, didn't have much artistic talent, and cried easily (and wasn't a particularly *pretty* child, either)....and, eh. The narrative I had about myself ("I wasn't popular and tripped over my own feet a lot, but darnit, I was SMART") kind of crumbles.

But the flip side, the less-selfish side: What about that kid? I can't imagine, as a five year old, dealing with that kind of pressure. And I admit, I look at things like the young Olympic champions and think, "Wow, it would be so nice to be good at something and to know what you're 'supposed' to do, and just be able to channel all your attention into that one thing" but then other times I feel sad when I think of, for example, figure skaters who have to get up every morning at 4 am in order to get in a couple hours' practice before school, or perhaps athletes in sports where remaining lithe is very, very important (gymnastics?) who never get to eat birthday cake or things like that.

I admit, though, the whole five-year-old-in-the-spelling-bee bugs me for a couple other reasons:

a. I thought there were age rules. I guess not, or I guess this is a case of "awwww, we're gonna break the rules for her." (As someone who was never adorable enough to get the rules broken for her, and who always assumed never to ask to get the rules bent, it does annoy me to see rules bent or broken)

b. I really hope there's not subtle pressure on the "normal aged" kids to "take a dive" so the five year old wins, because "Five year old wins national spelling bee" is like a news headline everyone wants to report. (Also, her family probably already have a movie or book deal lined up, and I would not be surprised to learn that some university has already offered her a full scholarship when she gets to the point of university....) But I bet there is that pressure, because one thing we love in this Brave New World is a good narrative. (Never mind that some of those boring, "normal-aged" kids probably have their own compelling stories, and even if not, they worked REALLY DARN HARD and I know what kind of work that involves).

Actually, I think there's an intersection between my feelings and opinions about this, and my comments on item #2: Lately, I feel like a lot of the things I value, and the things I am best at, are things that count for absolutely zero in this world, and it leads to a lot of inner conflict: do I keep doing what I believe to be right (and however-many-millions-there-are of thoughtful Christians in the world can't be wrong on that) or do I change myself to be more "marketable"?

Oh, I know the answer to that. But it still makes me sad that the things important to me and that I do well count for so little. And that I will keep doing them but keep on feeling undervalued.


Jay said...

As to your weathergirl and DST: We had a local TV weather guy state, with a completely straight face, that our springtime temperatures were going to warm up even faster because we were getting an extra hour of daylight.

"Reality TV" is an oxymoron.

kbehroozi said...

Hey, you know comparisons are odious–that way lies madness. There will always be someone better than you, at everything. The one thing you're best at is being yourself (that sounds unbearably cheesy but it's also true).

Yeah, I think the five-year-old prodigy thing is a little ridiculous. But some kids that age are truly insatiable on some front or other–profoundly gifted-and they suffer in typical environments, doing typical kid stuff. Whenever I see these whiz kids and feel a pang of competitive parent syndrome, I remind myself: that way is not an easy way. And I also think about how many truly successful and happy people I know who were simply above average at most things and who excelled at nothing in particular.