Things have been interesting at work. A couple of months ago, I was really struggling to keep my head above water. I felt like I was drowning in grading and the pressure to produce “results” threatened to overwhelm me. It took all of my energy to hold on, to push through, knowing that there was an end in sight. The last couple of weeks, though, have been almost the opposite. I’m feeling on top of my work, my grading and able to deal with the pressures placed upon me. Will it last? Probably not but I’ll appreciate it while it lasts.
Despite the smooth sailing, there are some significant changes on the horizon. Every year of my teaching career has included changes. Sometimes, those are small like who is teaching what or what hours my classes will be. Those are easy to deal with. Other times, the changes feel radically different. I am about to enter one of those. Two of my closest colleagues are leaving. One is retiring and the other is leaving for a different position at a new program. This would be enough to shake me but this is adding to another close friend who left last year. I see my colleagues, my friends moving on. They are entering new phases in their lives. I’m genuinely happy for them but I will miss them for a variety of reasons. On a work level, I’m sad that we won’t be brainstorming how to teach this, that or the next thing. On a personal level, I worry that I’ll be lonely. I won’t have people to talk to in the same way. Of course, I don’t know who will take their places. Maybe, the new people will be just as awesome but I know that it won’t be the same.
In thinking about these changes, I’m reminded of Duran’s history. (I’m not sure what that says about me in that I often find myself making parallels between my life and the band’s history.) I was thinking about how Nick and Simon must have felt when John left. Did they feel like I do? Did they conflicted feelings? I bet that part of them understood the choice that he made as I understand my colleagues. Yet, I wonder if there was a part of them felt a little abandoned. I know that I am supposed to take the high road but I cannot help that there is a part of me, a selfish part of me wants them to stay. Of course, I won’t tell them that. At the end of the year, I’ll hug them and wish them luck.
Part of my reaction is the fear that I have that my life isn’t progressing the way it should. Is the goal that I had twenty years ago still good? Still enough? Am I jealous that their lives are changing? Again, I cannot help but to think about Nick and Simon with John. They chose to stay with the band as they continued to focus on Duran Duran. This focus is one that they kept for decades just like teaching is one that I had for over twenty years. Did John’s departure make them question their goals? Their focus?
I haven’t taken a ton of time yet to process these upcoming changes. I’m not sure what exactly next year will look like for me at school. My plan right now is to keep my focus on the goals that I have had. They might be slowly fading and I’ll have to accept that, but maybe my life will follow in the band’s history. Maybe, there will something equal to a reunion to create a spark into greatness again.