Monday, April 07, 2008

This evening's seance guests include Joseph Campbell, Abraham Harold Maslow, and Douglas Adams...

It's been some time since my old friend insomnia came calling. I went to sleep before nine and now here it is only a few hours later and I am wide awake with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I have a line from Simon and Garfunkle running through my head, "Kathy, I'm lost, I said, though I knew she was sleeping". I can interpret that easily enough as an expression of the conflicting desire to talk to my wife while knowing that she needs her sleep - so I'll talk to you instead (and her later). If I had anything important to say I'd wake her - how's that for a teaser? Have I sold you on reading further with that sub-textual promise to say nothing of consequence? It's not the destination, but the journey that matters - so let's wander/wonder.

What ails me in this long dark tea time of the soul (that's the Adams tag)? Only that I can't breathe. I took the day off from school today and may well do the same for tomorrow. Both E and I have a nice spring cough combined with feelings of the general crud variety. I'm not sure if this is allergy or flu, but it sucks either way. There is something antithetical about spring colds, as though we should have shed all things viral with the winter.

I took several naps today, and I imagine that therein rests the cause of my erstwhile restlessness (is it erstwhile if it continues into the present? I think not). Of course, I am as ready as my students are for the year to be over. I hope to come back next year with renewed excitement for my profession, but this year has been a hard one. We've had several events that cause one to question both human nature and the validity of the educative enterprise - I can't/won't write about them here in concrete terms, but in the abstract suffice it to say that no one I work with finds teacher retention statistics remotely surprising. Very few new teachers remain in the profession.

I love teaching, but the demands are... demanding. I'm just not sure what else I am qualified to do. The bookish and verbose, sans ambition for more than happiness, are never in high demand - a fact much touted by the non-demanded historians observing such things throughout the ages. I know I'd make a good lottery winner, so here's to hoping that tax on desperation pans out for me. I shouldn't complain. The bills are paid, we're all in relatively good health, I'm just not feeling all that actualized - damn that Maslow and the hierarchy he rode in on.

At times I feel like a chrysalis looking at his watch and wondering when nature will get around to that whole apotheosis thing. Perhaps that's the problem, there will be no external trigger for my personal getting-my-shit-together moment. I have this son now, and if ever there was a reason for me to get transcendent - he and his mother both deserve to have a husband and father who is happier than I am.

My work exhausts me and that is no fun for the people who love me. The general wisdom is that this gets easier the longer that you do it... I've been teaching on and off since 1997 and I haven't gotten less stressed - if anything my increased skill has made me more stressed out. There has to be a knack to it that I just haven't mastered yet, I think it might have a great deal to do with procrastination. The stress originates for me in the labor forestalled - everything I have to put off until later since I have no time or energy for it today.

OK Joe, you old hero with a thousand myth based rationalizations, how do I follow my bliss when I don't know what my bliss is?

Joe says, "Be open and then follow the call, it's as simple as falling or falling in love."

Great, thanks Joe. I love those cryptic "you'll know it when you know it" responses. Why does ultimate truth always have to get dressed up in solipsisms? Chicken meet egg, rinse repeat.


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