I am officially on Summer Break. This year I have two months off instead of three, and this is one of the summers we stay in Colorado rather than spend a few months on the Oregon Coast. I told Eric the other day that my favorite thing about vacation is I own my time in a way I just don’t when I’m working for someone else. The complication of that ownership is that I get to choose how I spend my time.

I could sleep in, have a lazy morning, take a shower but immediately put on clean pjs, get on the couch and binge watch television shows or movies, only getting up to eat and go to the bathroom.

I could get up early, do some laundry, walk dogs with Eric, go to the gym or a yoga class, shower, meditate, write, sit out in the back yard with Eric and the dogs, read or take a nap.

I could work on all the reading and contemplating and action from the various sources I’ve accumulated it.

I could plan some things to teach or get together with friends.

I could email Amy about using our last two training sessions with the dogs, answer those emails that have been sitting in my Life Wholehearted inbox for way too long, schedule some people to come give us a bid on putting in a new fence for us, recaulk the bathtub, go through the pile on my desk, get texture spray and paint to fix the places on the walls where they put in our insulation, paint the outside of the house, weed the flower beds, make an appointment with the dermatologist, buy a new swimming suit and bras, mail the things sitting on my desk, install the new modem they sent us months ago, clean out the garage.

Or, I could do nothing. No plan, just whatever I feel like doing next, even if it’s absolutely nothing.

I get to choose. I am fully aware of my privilege, and also my anxiety.

8 thoughts on “Choice

  1. Rita Ott Ramstad

    I am ready for our break–have been waiting for it–but at the same time, it also makes me anxious. I think the way we do things in the academic world isn’t healthy. It’s all or nothing. I have a hard time finding balance in either of my existences, and more and more I feel as if I have two lives. No matter which one I’m in, I miss elements of the other. Both last too long. There’s got to be a better way.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      Yes, to all of this, I get it, I agree. It takes me a good two weeks to really be able to transition. Let’s keep each other informed about figuring out how to do this, and being gentle with ourselves even when/if we don’t. Wising you some ease. ❤

  2. TD

    How interesting that you both feel some anxiety.

    When I was working full time at a corporate office with paid time off of two weeks per year upon supervisor’s approval around his schedule, I was highly envious of my neighbor of 5 years who was a school teacher with 2-3 months off for the summer! Both of us were in our 40’s, divorced and living alone with a dog as our companion. I thought so highly of her bravery, courage and adventurous nature. Each summer, I watched her climb into her small-sized RV, pack of books and little dog to go where ever the road led her. I asked if she had a destination planned and she said no that she would just go with complete freedom and curiosity. I was impressed and envious.

    I’m wondering if your time off is without pay? If so, is that what drives your anxiety or is it something else? Seeking to understand more about the nature of anxiety myself as I struggle with it myself.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      My time off is without pay (although I have it set up so that my 9 months of salary gets paid out over 12 — so I get a little less each month, but don’t have the shock of nothing at all over the summer). The first thing I thought of when I read about your friend who was a school teacher is that she is single. I know that not all partnered people experience it this way, but for me my time is never entirely my own, and I think that makes a difference. I imagine it allows for more freedom, or at least a different sort. The other big factors are what Rita mentioned in her comment, that the way we do things in academia isn’t at all healthy so there’s a lot to recover from in the summer, but I also am a very driven person, still struggle with perfectionism, feel like I would need three lives to really do all the living I want, so no matter how much time I have off, no matter how much freedom, it will never be enough.

      1. TD

        Yes, I do understand all of what you say here. My teacher friend was single (divorced), not partnered at the time. She had also survived a difficult time through cancer and may have given her that depth of courage that I could not imagine. I have been on both sides of being single for years and also being married for years. I had a similar discussion with another friend that I’ve known for 40 years. And we agreed that both ways being single or married are good and hard at the same time. We discussed the differences of freedoms which you describe. I understand better now. Thank you for your kind reply.

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