This is “down time” for instructors — the two weeks between figuring final grades for spring, and the first day of summer classes. It’s also Memorial Day weekend, and I know we’re all supposed to go to the lake and have cookouts and hang out with the family, blah blah blah.
I despise “down time.”
I really do. When it comes to doing nothing, I suck. It’s impossible for me to not do something. I don’t even like sleeping.
Take this week, for example. Since last Monday, I have: edited an entire book for a friend (due today; 260 pages), rewritten about 50 pages of my own book, signed up for online training that starts in two days (and lasts two weeks), started on the young adult fiction class I start teaching next Monday, worked in my garden, rescued my cat from the neighbor dog (she’s fine, but the dog will die if it comes back), went through intruder-response training (totally rocked it!), read a novel (Sixth Grave From The Edge — you’ve GOT to read Darynda Jones!), and started researching my young adult novel again.
This coming week isn’t any less busy. But it’s just impossible for me to not do something. I can’t sit still, and even when I’m doing one thing, I’m thinking about two or three other things. Like when I go for my walks. I’m taking photos, ruminating about plots and characters, and planning out my day. In the car, I’m listening to NPR and making notes about stories I want to post for my students. I don’t know if all of that is normal or not. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy, and maybe I am. My family can’t stand it — “why can’t you just relax?” But they don’t understand that what they consider “relaxing,” I consider a waste of time.
My best friend is constantly on me to slow down, enjoy the day, look around. “Simple pleasures,” he always says. Maybe when I get older, I’ll understand that. But for now, I have too much to get done! It’s so hard for me to slow down. Maybe that’s why I like sports cars so much. 🙂 I just can’t see how people can muddle through life by going to work, coming home, plopping down in front of the TV, and going to bed. How is that a life? Get out! Do something! Anything! Get a freaking hobby! Go for a walk! Anything!
Just don’t waste your life. That, at its heart, is the theme of the book I just edited this week. The main character, Kyle, does waste his life playing video games — until things happen that change his entire outlook on life. By the end of the book, having seen the death of his brother and other good friends, his character arc comes full circle, to getting out and living life, and growing up. Does it take death to make us see that? Why can’t we just get out and do something without the morbid wake-up call? Why do so many people spend their lives frozen in place, unable or unwilling to move?
I don’t know. I just know that for me, slowing down isn’t ever going to happen.