I have been teaching at various levels, from third grade through Ivy League college students, for the better part of 20 years. (Holy shit.) I’ve had some other jobs in that time, but I seem to have settled in (permanently? accidentally?) as a university professor.
This past year was quite possibly one of the worst I’ve ever had, professionally speaking. I’ve spent far too much time dwelling on the negatives of my current situation, however. That’s not what I want to do in this space. In this space, I want to look forward and think about how to make the best of this situation in which I appear to be stuck.
Today I taught my last class until August 2015. Fifteen months with no teaching and no university committees. No one to answer to except myself and my research. (And my coauthors. And the ocean. And maybe my husband and my pets.)
Originally I thought that sabbatical would be the time that I’d travel to all the cool events that I always miss because I’m on an academic calendar: New Orleans Jazz Festival, Burning Man, SXSW… But the reality of “half salary” is sinking in, along with an awareness that there’s really a lot of stuff I want to do right here at home.
The most daunting thing right now is that there is so much I want to do with this time. Research, yes, certainly. Maybe I’ll post some professional goals later. But I want to do so much more. I am starting to despair that I won’t do it all, that I can’t possibly do it all. I’m hoping that writing it down will help me prioritize. Here’s the start of a list of things that have been kicking around in my brain:
Learn to surf. Like, for real. Catch a wave or several. Stand the fuck up and ride it. And don’t piss off everyone in the lineup.
Join a paddling club.
Swim to the Mokes.
(OK, basically I want to spend a lot of time in, on, and near the ocean. Got it.)
Learn to play ukulele. I got one more than a year ago, and haven’t spent really any time learning it. Lessons!
Read a ton of books. I don’t know when was the last time I read a book for pleasure. Wait, yes I do. Last summer. It’s been nearly a year since I read something just for fun. That’s too damn long.
Take a cooking class, or more than one.
Get a second dog so my girl has a buddy.
Organize my house, and do those lingering repair / construction projects. Maybe fix up the patio?
Short term goal: Buy a cheap surfboard, and sign up for ukulele lessons. It’s a start.