The Case for Spontaneity

During office hours yesterday, several students dropped by to discuss their upcoming speeches and projects.  After answering questions, reviewing drafts, and offering feedback, I always check in personally.  How's the end of the semester looking for you?  How are you holding up? Are you doing alright?

I ask because I care.  I ask because I know what it feels like to be under the gun.  Right now, in fact, I'm mildly convinced that I've contracted mono, or Lyme disease, or some other energy-sucking illness, but it's likely just the byproduct of having three young kids and juggling extensive end-of-the-semester grading.

The finish line is in sight, but there's still some distance to travel.

Yesterday, I finally took the advice that I've been giving to my students.  Make sure that you take good care of yourself.  This is hard stretch of the semester.  Get some rest so you can finish strong. 

I made my afternoon as easy as possible.  After my daughter's dance class, I picked up a pizza instead of rushing home to cook.  In fact, I didn't even return home.  Instead, almost as if the van piloted itself, we ended up at local park where the girls and I ate our pizza slices off of napkins that I found in van's glove compartment. 

After cleaning up remnants of half-eaten crust, I stretched out on a picnic table bench, squinting into the sunshine as the girls played tag on the playground.  Although such a simple deviation from the norm -- just changed dinner plans and an impromptu visit to the park -- breaking free from my regular routine made me believe that I could carry on, that I could make it.

For a while, I stopped thinking about the essays waiting on my dining room table and the emails in my inbox.  I relinquished the mental gymnastics of planning and plotting how I was going to tackle the items on my to-do-list and calendar.

Instead, I attempted to meld into that bench and blend into my surroundings, which lasted roughly two minutes before my daughters noticed that I had gotten comfortable and invited me to join their round of fish-out-of-water tag.

I played that, too.  It's a hard stretch of the semester, after all.  It's important to get some rest -- even in the form of pizza, park benches, and tag -- and finish strong.

Image compliments of Shea Donato (

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  1. It's so refreshing to do something different to the routine, isn't it? I've just had a week's holiday from work and it was just what I needed. Hang in there, I'm glad you're able to recognise when you need to take your own advice :-)

    1. I'm so glad that you had a week's break from work, Francesca! (Well deserved, indeed!) Hoping that you feel refreshed and ready to take on the new exciting adventures that are coming down the pike for you with your book!

  2. So glad you were able to give yourself a bit of a break. Even if it's a brief one, we need to be gentle on ourselves. So glad you listened to your own advice.

    Wishing you strength and peace in these last few days of the semester.


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