"I've Noticed My Life Is Better When..."

Every semester I reach a point where my job solely consists of grading things. Specifically, for the past two weeks there's been a daily influx of assignments, and the onslaught will continue until the end of this current week when we call a truce and blissfully break for Thanksgiving.

I think I'm primarily to blame for this situation because I'm the professor, but I digress.

Weeks of sustained grading is similar to riding a wave. Every morning I give myself a pep talk (or perhaps a warning) that I have to keep up with the momentum or I'm going to get rolled. Don't let today's grading spill into tomorrow because more is coming tomorrow. Stay on top of this stack! You can do this! Focus, young grasshopper!

And for the most part, with the aid of an embarrassing quantity of Dr Pepper and some grit, I've stayed on top. Assignments have been returned swiftly and with ample feedback. More of the workload is behind than remains ahead.

Now, I said all that to say this:

When I'm in the midst of heavy work weeks, I often forget to tap into the things that make me function well as a human. There's limited room for hobbies and I skimp on connecting with friends under the banner of "limited time!" But enjoyable pursuits and human connections aren't luxuries; they sustain people who otherwise are running on fumes and caffeine.

So this past weekend, in between the nooks and crannies of writing feedback and deliberating on rubrics, I watched college football and got immersed in a book to the point that when I reached the last chapter (bookmarks are for quitters), I blinked hard at my surroundings, including my kids, because I momentarily had forgotten they existed. It was highly satisfying.

Sunday night as we got ready for bed, I told my husband, "I've noticed that my life is better when I'm reading good books."

He wisely replied, "Then keep reading good books."

So I will.


  1. Books - a personal movie for your mind. They are wonderful, aren't they? Can I ask, what do you enjoy reading?

    1. Why, hello anonymous! I love reading a multitude of genres -- some are professional (currently reading several titles by Dan and Chip Heath), but I love both fiction and creative non-fiction, too. I recently read Anna Quindlin's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake (a memoir), and I loved some of her reflections on aging. The book I read on Sunday was "Winter House" by Elin Hildebrand, which was a quick fiction centered on one family on Christmas who faced a myriad of relational challenges. I've loved several books by Jen Hatmaker, Craig Groshel, the Harry Potter series, multiple YA novels, dystopian fiction, Christian living, you name it!

      If you have any great titles I should check out, let me know! :)


Back to Top