Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On the cusp

It's that weird moment at the end of the summer, with the new semester in sight, where I want to be starting something new without the guilt of not finishing what I'm working on now.

The moment is manifesting itself in my summer work. I'm tired of the three-month project that our strategic plan has become, even though we're within a few days of being done. I'd rather start teaching my new class on process theology than finish the syllabus and courseware construction.

And there's evidence at home, too. July is almost over, and yet my Lettuce Coat, Archer's fish hat, and my PAs' coffee sleeves sit at the same state of thirty-more-minutes-work-each where they were a month ago. Instead of finishing them, I've been dreaming about the next two years or so of projects, putting yarn and patterns lovingly in bags marked with special codes, and cross-referencing everything in my queue and stash. I'd like to start about a dozen new items all at once, and the devil take the hindmost.

Yet at the same time I eye the approaching fall semester with the usual apprehension. Once thrown into that maelstrom, I know I won't see consecutive hours of leisure for months. Now is the time to clear the decks and prepare for the landing of dozens of projects I don't necessarily get to choose.

I know exactly what's happening. The pressure wave of the oncoming semester has not yet hit. I imagine that it will become an irresistible force around the end of next week, and I will be unable to do anything but obsessively clear decks at that point. (And worry about the decks that other people are supposed to be clearing, but that's a less adaptive neurosis.)

The question is whether my urge to start new things will turn out to be helpful or hurtful? Will those new things simply languish in states of unfinishedness, mocking me and failing to satisfy next month's desire for novelty? Or could they become refuges where I can retreat when the neverending deadlines get me down, moments I can steal away to make progress on something just for me?

No comments: