Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blink - - and it's late March!

I've been doing my good-old-workaholic thing this last few weeks. Usually, this makes me feel virtuous (useful, worth keeping employed, etc.). But something I was listening to while on the bus - oh yes, it was Marion Woodman's _Crown of Aging_ - gave me a reminder of something I've known for decades, which is that work-sickness is an addiction like any other -- just one that's seen more positively in our Puritan-shadowed culture than drug addictions (that put people out on the streets - so wasteful) or love-addictions (after all, love makes the world go 'round, and all that).

Actually, Woodman was talking about these other sorts of addictions, and I was sitting there feeling pretty virtuous for my clean-'n-sober condition when she mentioned work as an addiction, and it hit home. Yep. That's me - the job junkie. I wake up organizing my quickest possible get-away, mentally jotting down the day's to-do list. Then, when I get there (sometimes carrying in my breakfast to eat while doing e-mail), big chunks of time can melt away as I handle tiny but (seemingly) urgent tasks that pile in - bing! - on my screen, so that at the end of the morning, I haven't gotten much farther down the pile than I was when I started.

Then, I might sneak a peek at Facebook, which I've just joined. I don't much like the pile-up of everybody's business that the new format pops me into, but I look at the tab of my friends (and acquaintances) list and reassure myself that people are still having human stuff happening (eating cheese sandwiches, walking dogs, having a laugh). Then - more of the same, sometimes three or four meetings, sometimes a bit of human contact in the hallway.

When I was doing student academic advising, I had more face-to-face human contact, and I do miss that in my more bureaucratic role. However, I find myself surprised at how much fun some meetings can be, even on dull subjects (like reforming academic policies) - when the people are smart, funny, good-willed - sharing an interest in thoughtful and creative institution-building to improve students' experience at our university. I don't even really mind e-mail requests to solve problems, provide information, clarify puzzles. I enjoy explaining how things work, or clarifying the purpose of some policy or process.

I just need to keep in mind that I'm a protoplasmic being, a mammal in need of some movement, some fresh air, a break for lunch. And time to dream.


Minka said...

No wonder then, that you've been away from here all this time!

It's on us to make time for nice things, isn't it?

Take care!

taitle said...

protoplasmic, such a great word :)

Facebook sometimes just takes too much of your time. I usually just try and enforce some breaks on it for myself.

Mary Ellen said...

Yeah - after my first week on Facebook, I just peek once or twice a day. It's fun having a place where my communities intersect (my kids and their friends, my work colleagues, members of my Quaker meeting). I don't know how long my mid-life peers will keep at it, but so far it has been a surprisingly engaging way of reminding myself of the point of it all - the human family in all its lovable, quirky diversity.