Friday, January 11, 2008


This 'boy' with boundless energy and optimistic attitude recently let the rose colored glasses slip to the end of his nose for a moment and discovered he needs a bit of a break. A break from constantly going, constantly running from one place to another, constantly striving to achieve.

Yes, the 'boy' is yours truly.

The wonderful thing is that once I decided I could use a break the universe conspired to make it happen. I have been taking classes non stop for the past six years - first as part of the Hello Friend/Cosby Scholars Program and then as part of my doctoral studies in Language, Literacy and Learning. This past semester I began to feel a tad burned out.

Instead of reading journal publications during my two hour morning commute I found I wanted to sit with my copy of Entertainment Weekly. I wanted to watch Ugly Betty rather than focusing at my computer writing a paper. I wanted to wrap presents and listen to Christmas music instead of typing up a transcript. This past semester was a little difficult for this reason.

So when I found out that the class I had registered for in the Spring was cancelled and there were no other classes being offered that I needed, I was not too disappointed. Sure, it will delay my progress but without enjoyment what does it matter. I need time to regroup so I can reignite the fire that caused me to begin this whole process in the first place.

What I really want to do is focus more energy on the kids I teach, not that I have ever neglected them of course. When I first began teaching I went to bed every night at 9:30 so I would be totally available to my students. I never wanted to be tired or distracted. Now, there are nights I am not even home until after 9:30. Teaching the young ones is what sparks me. I am well aware that we are all 'students' in life but for one semester I simply want to be just a teacher.

I suppose knowing when to step back and enjoy the view is a blessing. And I do feel blessed in so many ways. I do.


Joy Keaton said...

'bout time, pally! Remember how well not teaching summer school went? Vive MEXICO, baby!!!

lettuce said...

well done universe, for conspiring to make gary slow down.

enjoy the view

Dumdad said...

Welcome back and Happy New Year!

Yes, Gary, it's always good to stop and take time to smell the roses.

Mikey T said...

I still remember the countless nights of you heading to bed because you "had to be up in five hours" I'm glad that you might get a decent night's sleep once in awhile or use your time to do something that simply brings you joy!!! And of course, when I come to visit this spring, its good to know that I might convince you to stay up all night without feeling too terribly guilty about it in the morning!!

Reya Mellicker said...

Part of every journey to a Ph.D. includes time taken away from the study. Every Ph.D. I know (DC is loaded with them) has felt bad about taking time to complete the degree - but I think accumulating wisdom takes time. And isn't a doctorate degree about taking time?

I'm so glad to see you posting! Hope you're doing well. Much love to you!

kimy said...

you make my day. there's something for you at the mouse.

glad to find you back! happy new year. xx

Seraphine said...

So the 'boy with boundless energy' finally unbounded. Ugly Betty is a worthy diversion.

Ladron de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

I'm glad your taking a bit of a break or at least taking on a little less. I can fully relate and sometimes get tired of writing about the impact of structural readjustment on marginalized indigenous populations and biodiversity. I hope you'll be sharing more blog posts and the convertible in the meantime.

Gary said...

Joy - I hope we begin planning a trip to Mexico before the end of next week. I really do. And Happy Birthday!!!

Lettuce - yes, slowing down is a good thing. I just never want to have to stop altogether.

Dumdad - Thanks. It is nice to be back in the blogosphere again. Happy New Year to you too.

Mikey - I know I got a lot of mileage out of that phrase didn't I? Sometimes it was even true. When you visit I have no issue with an all nighter as long as it is on a Friday...well a Saturday would be fine too but then you'd have to come to church with me. :)

Reya - Yes I think accumulating wisdom takes time. This last semester it all started to get jumbled together like "didn't I already read this?" or "I did this research already, didn't I?" so I knew it was time to rest the 'ol brain.

Kimy - Thanks. You make my day as well! MWAH!

Seraphine - Unbounded! Yes that's it. I am now going to idle a while and get back some energy. Thanks for stopping by and congrats on the YMMD.

Gregg - Diversity is the key. Too much of any one thing, even if we love it, can take a toll. But you have some topic there!

Steve said...

Oh, lucky Gary! Seriously, it's great that the universe conspired to give you a break. You've certainly earned it, and well all need 'em from time to time. :)

J. David Zacko-Smith said...

Handsome man - taking a break is a WISE idea! Trust me, I know exactly what you are going through - so enjoy it, and don't worry a bit.

Florecita said...

Dear Gary, we are in tune. Last december was time for doing nothing, cause I had a miomectomy and it was the fact that I teach kids and also had patients that take Dance movement therapy... but this time was different it was a time for me to heal, to take care of me and let others take care of me... lots of reading, watching tv, eating (I discover chocolate had iron, hahaha) and now Im back, with a lot to do, but taking time to just be with myself...
Enjoy your time, be blessed with that!!!!!

Arielle said...

Glad you listened to yourself and realized that taking a break was a good idea. Sometimes things happen for a reason, like your class being canceled. You have the right idea, so I'm glad you are going for it!

It comes down to keeping yourself happy.

Enjoy! :)

WAT said...

Yes, there is nothing wrong now is there in actually slowing down and stopping to smell the roses right? I'm glad you're back to blogging and also happy to hear you're trying to be a Type-B personality (a bit) like me.

Lynda said...

I'm glad you are taking a break as well.As all of your blog friends wrote. Things happen for reasons and it's time for a well deserved break!

Gary said...

Steve - As I write this I have just been offered an alternative class. I have until next week to decide if I still want the break or if I want to get back into it. I think I am going to stay with the break, but we'll see. Is the universe playing games with me?

Dr. J.DZ-S - I know you are well aware of the process but the only difference are now a Ph.D! Actually, I really am in no rush to complete this and if it makes me too crazy what is the sense?

Florecita - We are in tune. All I want to do lately is stay in my Pajamas and watch TV or read trash. Well, that and nap and hide out. I can't really do these things much but it is where I find my thoughts wandering. Lately, I can't wait to get home to simply chill. I am glad that I can do that. And I am glad that you were able to take some time as well.

Arielle - Yes, it comes down to being happy. If I can't do that for myself I will not be much good to anyone else will I?

Wat - Type B personality I am not but I think there is something calling me to slow down. I am choosing to listen for now. Hey, are you going to post your pic of Phyllis?

Lynda - Thanks sweetie!

Squirrel said...

time off is essential for clearing the old noggin

kimy said...

excellent plan gary! make sure your break is long enough to do it's magic....burnout is a bummer and really takes a toll on following one's bliss!

(I realized I forgot to put my 2 pennies in! tee hee)

Scot said...

I can so sympathize with the struggle to NOT be productive. Why should watching a TV show or reading a book with no purpose other than to read be a source of guilt? It shouldn't be.

Pod said...

hold on to your inner stillness, whether you be in a rush or not. the eye of a hurricane is completely still. i am sure you can manage that.
kick back dude
and happy nude year!

Gary said...

Poddy - Great to see you back. I am trying to kick back a bit and today has been an especially wonderful day. I am learning to appreciate each moment, truly. That is a gift and a curse.

Scot - Thanks. In the end no one cares if I took time to read EW. I hear that Catholics have lots of guilt. What is my excuse?

Kimy - I love your two cents. Thanks for the input. I will be back in full student mode in a few months but for now...ahhhh.

Squirrel - I love that expression, the 'ol noggin. :)


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