What is it about the summer that is so healing? Every year I find solace in the sun, waking up a bit later than usual, finding retreat in my garden of vegetables and flowers. It is my most favorite time of year.
This summer however, I find myself with a lack of motivation and looking at the things I love without the same luster I have in the past. What is it?
This summer has been infiltrated with some exciting and stressful events. I directed a study abroad program, teach an online course, and was MOH in my sister’s wedding. With all these events, is the act of giving energy and loads of it. I find myself in a hammock with a book most days, thinking about all the other obligations I am forgetting to attend to. I also can’t help but wonder, it is because of my type A personality or is it something else? When did it get to the point where I cannot even take time for myself to retreat and enjoy self-care?
I do the dance of reminding myself how hard I work during the academic year, the countless hours spent grading on my couch at night, the time spent writing articles, reports, and emails at all hours of the day. I remind myself of the late night student meetings I attend as an advisor. These thoughts help me validate my self-care, my relaxation, my lack of motivation to do anything. Is this a healthy way of validation? I’m not sure, but it works for me.
But there is still a part of me that feels guilty, that feels bad, and that feels like I am a failure.
I have always noticed that faculty are hard on themselves and maybe that is how I am hard wired.
There is one part I am leaving out though, the part where one of my students passed away this summer. I have had the hardest time since learning of this. I have a hard time wondering if my grief is too much, as if grief should be measured… it shouldn’t. I cared about my student, my identity as a new faculty member was with this student. He was in my first class as an official faculty member and every semester thereafter. He was with me on my first study abroad as a co-director. He was a pertinent part of my life and I miss him.
So why do I feel like I am grieving too much? Can I have time to heal without feeling guilty or like I shouldn’t feel this bad? It is a game I play everyday this summer. Maybe it will be over soon, maybe it won’t. I hope that I can fill this empty space that I feel with knowing I’ll never interact with him again.
What should this process feel or look like? I don’t know but I continue to take space this summer in my hammock, in my head, and in my life wondering how I can make peace and move on without guilt.
If I find an answer, I’ll let you know.
Relevant article: http://www.chronicle.com/article/More-Than-a-Summer/240357?cid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en&elqTrackId=6774a24c1511498baaf09f171106126c&elq=a9dd7cb2935c4ca180953b754e1ecdb6&elqaid=14408&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=6049