Wednesday, May 03, 2017

And rebound time

I realized something the other day:

Once again, I'm happier, more content, less troubled. I don't THINK it's merely that I started taking a B complex again (many days I forget it, anyway, and the fact that I eat oatmeal every morning and eat my share of eggs probably means I already get enough B complex).

It's probably a complex of things. For one thing: I had much more amenable classes this semester. The students were by and large more pleasant people and I didn't have any really major Problem People (well, I had one person, but their problems were external to who they were - bad life circumstances - and while I couldn't fix the problems, the person kind of accepted that they just got dealt a bad hand this semester and that it wasn't my "fault" - I have had students in the past who blamed me for their poor grade that was really due to lack-of-attendance-and-work that was brought about by life circumstances). Several of my students quietly thanked me for the class as they handed in their exams today....I will miss them.

Also, things are looking up here. We are in a better position than MANY of the regional unis thanks to the draconian budget-cutting last year and all the early retirements. (And a lot of that, I credit our fairly-new president for. He took an awful situation and by and large did the best possible thing with it). And we've been told we're well-positioned for the future because in another year, the "bonus" payments for the early retirements cut out - which means a little more money in the coffers. (And also: this president is far more transparent and communicative about what's going on.) I don't fear for my job any more like I did last year. Oh, I'm still nervous about what will happen long-term with higher ed, but hopefully we'll hang on either until I hit retirement, or at least until I reach the point of "forget you money" with my investments and I could just leave that job and take on something less well-paid and sort of slowly run down my retirement money - but have enough to live on.

And, as much as I know I shouldn't let it affect me, honestly? Winning that award did a lot for my self-confidence. One of the problems of being in an excellent department is you do begin to doubt yourself - you begin to feel "ordinary" even though in a random group of people you'd probably be pretty good in terms of your accomplishments - when you're running with the alpha dogs, it's really easy to see yourself as the omega, when really the omega-dog in an alpha-pack probably isn't really any worse than a gamma dog in any other pack. But that framed thing propped up on my desk reminds me that I'm really okay, after all, and people recognize that okayness. (or maybe even: better than okay).

I think also just the passage of time. Last year, 2016, took a lot out of me. LOTS of bad things happened, starting with my dad's emergency room trip that reminded me, in a very visceral way, that my parents are mortal, and someday - someday soon, possibly - there will be a for-real medical thing that one of them is not coming home from. (And my mom's fall in December just bookended that). They're both doing better now, and I'm grateful for that, but yeah, I spent a lot of 2016 scared. And other friends having a host of health problems from cancer to serious surgery to a miscarriage.

And all the budget cuts. And all the changes (I hate and fear change that I don't have any control over - like my colleague being let go). And sometimes it felt like no one understood - I remember crying over my colleague's losing her job in front of someone, and they said to me, I'm not kidding "But it's not YOUR fault." No, of course not BUT THAT IS NOT WHY I AM UPSET.

Anyway. The smaller 2016 gets in my mental rearview mirror - well, the *smaller* it gets. I beat that year. I came out better on the other side. And I'm beginning to bounce back and feel more like myself again.

For a while, I didn't. I don't think what I experienced was clinical depression, but I might cop to it having been "situational" - and there were a heck of a lot of bad situations that just kept coming and didn't stop coming. But so far this year, things have been better.

For a while, I kind of lost my crafting mojo. I spent a lot of time in the evenings, online, obsessively reading (mostly) Pony blogs, as a way of trying to cheer myself up. I still spend too much time online but I'm getting better at breaking away and actually knitting or sewing stuff....which is really what I need to do to stay happy. (Ironic that I didn't have the energy to do the very things that would have made me feel better during much of last year). But now I feel that drive again - the million projects starting in my brain, the "what do I want to make next," the desire to just start sewing or knitting to make stuff. I was thinking this morning while proctoring my exam that instead of going "What quilt do I want to make next" and changing my mind eighteen times, I should just accept that I want to make them all, and then grab the fabric and pattern that are nearest to hand, and do THAT one first. (Which means after I finish the tilted nine-patch, it will be what I have dubbed the "birb" quilt - also, that has the virtue of just being two fabrics, a bit of a departure for me).

And I realized I have a lot to be happy about. It occurred to me the other day that with all the Pony stuff, and all the stuffies, and all the dolls (Monster High, mostly, but a couple of Super Hero Girls and a couple of Ever After Highs)....well, that's kind of something I wanted as a kid, the freedom to be able to buy toys that I wanted without having to save up for literal months to do it. (And they have BETTER toys now. Gen-X suffered by being a statistically-small generation and being kids during an oil embargo). So I buy toys to make my inner child happy. (I still need to get a shelf for all my dolls.)

And this summer, I will need to be disciplined (research, prepping that class, updating a couple other classes), but I think if I can make myself work for 4-5 hours per day, four days a week - I can have the rest of the time to sew and knit and garden and play piano and do all the things I want to do but never feel like I have time to do.

And it's time for a rest and a change, which this summer will definitely be. Yes, less money, but I realized the reason my paychecks have been a bit smaller - because of an office derp, I got put on the "12 month pay plan" instead of the "10 month plan" I was on (and now, darnit, I can't go back: some kind of rule). Anyway, the 12-month plan was set up to "force" people who didn't teach summers to have "enough" money left over at the end of the school year - the last 2 checks are distributed with the May check. So I will have a chunk 'o' change going into my account to cover the summer (And anyway - the tax refund, which was partly due to the fact that I tithe (and then a little bit) and I write that off, and also, I had a capital loss last year - so I have enough of a cushion for a typical summer).

My hope and my plan is to work down both the yarn and fabric stashes, make some stuff, rest up, keep up with exercise, prep my new class, do some research, contemplate new research projects, do some will almost be like the summers of old, when I was a kid, when you stepped off the bus on the last day of school and there was this glorious couple of months stretching ahead of you with NOTHING YOU HAD TO DO. Well, I have stuff I "have" to do (prepping that class), but I am not tied to a work schedule - if I get a headache, I can go home and lie down, I don't have to soldier on. Or if it's a gorgeous beautiful weekend and there's an Art Walk or something somewhere, I don't need to think twice - I can just go and enjoy it and not say "But when will I do my grading?" I think I will need this summer break.

1 comment:

purlewe said...

I love everything about this post. I especially love that you have a plan to balance everything this summer. I am excited for you.