Twelve years ago today I was in New Orleans at the Duran Duran Fan Convention. I had just landed in the epic city and was ready but nervous about the weekend with other Duran fans. Truly, I had no idea what to expect but hoped that I would have a ton of fun and would meet some great people. Luckily, my hopes turned to reality and then some. Not only did I have a tremendous time but it really started me on this little fandom journey. On top of having my newly awakened fandom reinforced, I also met my partner-in-crime there.
A big part of me wishes that I go back to that convention. I would love to have a weekend of nothing but fun. Think about it–a weekend of partying all night with friends, discussing and listening to nothing but Duran!! Yes, please! It would be the exact opposite of what life feels like right now.
I hate this time of the year. In fact, I always do. September means the beginning of the school year. My focus is on establishing relationships with a new group of students while being slammed with work. Summer allows me time to relax and to forget about how much work and time goes into teaching. Every year, I say the same thing, “This year, I will manage my time in such a way that I’ll will have real weekends off and that I’ll still be able to work on this project or that.” Quickly, the school year proves that goal to be impossible.
Once I’m into a school year, it becomes all-consuming. The few minutes I have each day becomes focused solely on having some down time rather than anything else that I would want to do. Initially, I’m okay with this. It feels good to have that tunnel-vision as part of me believes that is what is necessary to be the best teacher I can be. Soon enough, though, I begin to feel like how I’m feeling now.
I am finding myself missing other aspects of my life. For example, I don’t want to just be teaching all day, every day. In reality, I don’t think that makes me a better teacher despite what my employer might think. Breaks are needed. Time to do other things is necessary for me to be happy. While I know that I can’t be at a Duran convention like I was 12 years ago, I would like to work on some of the projects that Rhonda and I have on our plates. Yet, I know that I have had little time to do so and she is in the same boat.
Perhaps, part of my wish to work on writing projects and convention planning is to have the reason or excuse to be in more constant contact with Rhonda. We have been so busy that our communication has been minimal. In thinking about this, a wave of sadness rolls over me. I miss my friend. Of course, I miss the fun that we always have when we are together like at that convention, but I just miss chatting about whatever.
To be honest, this week has been emotionally tough for me. Some of my classes are tough, really tough. I haven’t had classes like this in a long time. I haven’t been feeling great, either, which always makes everything tougher. My stress level has been high as has my anxiety. In thinking about what would makes things better, one thing is clear. I can’t neglect my friendships for work. My fandom shouldn’t be pushed to the side as something I do or squeeze in when my schedule allows. No, I need to keep those aspects of my life that bring me joy in my life.
Thus, maybe I will be motivated to make the changes necessary due to this convention anniversary along with the end of a tough week at work. I need to set aside time to talk to my friends. My days should not be filled with just work. Grading can wait. I will find the balance that is needed to bring back some joy.