the sabbatical bubble

  • what time it is at any given moment during the day
  • the day of the week
  • that the rest of the world is ensconced in meetings/classes/deadlines*
  • proper procedures for various bureaucratic measures that students may email you about**
  • talking animatedly about planning a fifth or sixth excursion as you’re packing for the third can cause frustration in even the most patient of listeners (see earlier bullet about other people’s deadlines)
  • that your spouse has a schedule and deadlines
  • the world does not know, nor does it likely care, that you are on sabbatical, and therefore yes, you do have to pay bills, pull weeds, fix that pesky leak, endure awful music from the neighbors who insist on being home during *your* hours
  • what the rest of your wardrobe looks like outside of three t-shirts, 2 pairs of jeans, and zumba-appropriate workout gear
  • you have time to do all of the french homework, plus pages of unassigned exercises and no, you should not remind the french teacher that she forgot to assign more
  • that just because you blog, doesn’t mean you don’t still have to call your mother

these are some of the things one forgets when one is firmly planted in — or as planted as one could be in the floatiness of — the sabbatical bubble. i think k for giving me this image, so apt in both its ethereal structure — because we know the year will speed by — and for what it suggests about the capacity of bubbles to expand allow in new and strange and unexpected elements.

the danger, of course, is twofold: a) annoying your friends with talk that is overly floaty, philosophical, and on the order of endless ruminations and musings — although truth be told, i am afflicted with this trait even outside of the bubble, leading me to believe this is where i truly want to dwell…; and b) in embodying this sabbatical way of being, that you do not also develop a way of retaining and sustaining certain sabbatical practices beyond the scope of this precious time. in other words, how to make time for play, wonder, musings, and the like on a regular basis without the feelings of guilt (your own or those brought by the “oh my, you have time for that?” comments of others.)

for now, i am loving the bubble and my promise will be to keep the enthusiasm contained and expressed in appropriate forms. perhaps my retreat into silence over the next near-fortnight (for vipassana meditation, not punishment or anything so salacious) will help to quiet the nervous energy and help channel it into the kind that can be helpful and not just be seen as “that nut over there.”

*you can’t fully escape deadlines, no matter how hard you try to keep a low profile. darn those prior commitments!
** ok, i never know what these are, so this is less a factor of the bubble and more just a character flaw…
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