Step 46: Breathe

Most of the time, come Tuesday when I need to write something for this blog, I already know what I will be writing about. I keep a running list of topics that I might one day explore, drawn from various incidents over the semester. But nothing looked appealing today – usually I will see some idea about teaching that I wrote down weeks before and find it interesting once again, but everything looks forced.

So let’s talk about research. I have two deadlines this week, and so getting the data analyzed and writing the papers have dominated my life in the last two weeks. This is the first real bit of research I have done since coming to Oxy, and things feel different. It is a little scary not to have an advisor making sure that your writing makes sense, or to spot errors in the logic, and so I spend a lot more time going back over what I have written to make sure everything that needs to be addressed is there. One of the papers is building off of work that a student has done, which is interesting in its own way.

Because of all this though, I have been pulling two however-many-hour weeks, and I just need to breathe. I have actually gotten less sleep not because I was working (well, that too), but because my mind is on too many things even while lying in bed, making decisions about whether I should prep for lecture in the morning or how I might better frame the paper. I haven’t written in my journal in two weeks – but strangely, it’s because my journal felt too structured. As with my papers, I write my journal by keeping notes on what happened during the week, then organize it into something of a narrative. But with all the writing I’m doing, I miss just sitting down and putting whatever thoughts I have into words – what is what I’m doing now.

Work life balance – or lack thereof – is actually something I intend to talk about at some point, and I won’t do it now. I will say, though, that being strict about writing this blog is actually part of it, because it’s a mandatory block of time for me to write about something I really enjoy. Giving up the time to write in my journal, something just for myself, is much easier than giving up the time for this blog, even though I probably would have written everything in my journal anyway, if not as structured.

I guess I’m just happy to be taking this break now, before diving back into things tomorrow. I promise next week’s post will discuss something more substantial.

Step 46: Breathe

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