It’s everywhere. The question that haunts me, “Are you having a relaxing summer?” I can barely contain my urge to scream, “NO!” Don’t get me wrong. My kids are having a wonderful time at camp, and I have fewer deadlines at work. However, I am trying to cram a full year’s worth of doctor, dentist, car and house maintenance appointments (oops forgot the vet!) into this brief snippet of summer. I find myself racing down suburban roads on my lunch hour in feeble attempts to get things done NOW in full knowledge that there will be no such thing as a lunch hour come September.
I can hear the time bomb ticking. School will start. Homework will hit. Advisees will appear in droves. The old routine will return. Thus, I scramble to tick off my lists all the tasks I neglect during the academic year.
Lists? I keep four on my whiteboard: To Do Historian, To Do Life, To Do Office of Fellowships Short-Term, and To Do Northwestern Long-Term. For nine months of the year the To Do OF S-T is just about all I can handle. These are the three months in which I try to knock off the other three lists. That means one list per month. As a result, I can’t breathe! I’m touching base with colleagues to plan programs and committees for the fall. I’m hunting down AWOL advisees to remind them that though they have delayed thinking about applications, the due dates remain the same. When I am not driving boys to physicals or letting in workmen, I am writing two conference papers and a book chapter. Not to mention this blog.
I suppose it’s obvious. I should drop the blog. But this is FUN! No footnotes! No forms! No deadlines! I do it because I WANT to do it. Now that’s a relaxing revelation. So thank you for reading and providing me with one of the highlights of my summer, precisely because – like all the best things in life – it is NOT on a list!