Saturday, August 22, 2015

Unplug For a Few Minutes

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. 
(Anne Lamott | Salon, April 10, 2015)

Like all past summers already have and all future summers eventually will, this summer draws to a close.  Last week's meetings and increased activity in my email inbox signaled that the end was near.  On Monday morning when I walk across campus to my first class of the fall semester, the deal will be sealed: summer living will be over.  

I've extracted everything I could from these past few months: picnics and potlucks with family and friends and neighbors, stacks of good books, some happy hours of mindless TV after the kids went to bed, hunting for treasures at dozens of garage sales, morning runs, afternoons when the neighborhood kids helped my girls empty our freezer of ice pops, evenings playing Yahtzee on the back patio, epic gardening, DIY projects around the house, a few small road trips, and some opportunities (even in the midst of daily life with kids playing and squabbling and seemingly always needing to be fed ) to slow down, unplug, and be a person.

I believe I'm ready for the semester ahead because of it.

This isn't to say that I'm not already slightly nostalgic for what's about to end.  In fact, after a day's worth of department meetings, final syllabus revisions, and discussion with colleagues, yesterday I came home, changed out of my skirt and heels, and immediately headed to our garden where I picked brimming bowls of tomatoes -- a task, my my opinion, that might be the most honest work I ever do in life besides cutting the grass.

It also isn't to say that I've immediately dived into my work responsibilities with laser-like focus.  No, the day I began to edit several assignments, I started by spending two hours sorting my email inbox because -- hello -- it's much easier to edit next week's assignments when you have the peace of mind that your emails from the past three years are organized.  (This is the same logic my dear friend followed when she spent an afternoon cleaning her office instead of writing her syllabus.  I haven't yet seen it, but she's told me that the new way she stores envelopes in her drawer is life changing.)

Besides from printing rosters, setting up course websites, and attending to other start-of-the-semester odds and ends, there's one more thing I need to do before the semester starts.  I'm printing Anne Lamott's words and pinning them to the bulletin board in my office so I'll remember their wisdom.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

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