My August had more ordinary days than June or July. I finally swam in the pool and stopped sleeping the days away. In August I slept at night with far fewer thoughts and tears about the trauma of being fired after 20 years. I started conceptualizing this blog to improve my focus, to set goals, to stop the hamster-wheel in my head.
I hate the idea of goals.
Teaching the same Women’s Studies and Chicanx Studies classes for 20 years, albeit different versions, helped establish my legacy at the university; WMST is a stronger minor and the Chicanx Studies minor began Fall 2019. I found the university an intellectually stimulating space. And I miss the students. I am glad they have the WMST and CHLX minors.
During the 20 years, the university’s tuition remission allowed me to take classes, to graduate summa cum laude with a BS in computer science, and to complete all but four courses for an MBA. I learned to sing duets, paint watercolor, draw, make ceramics, play guitar and piano, and was certified to scuba dive. Teaching universities make great places to learn. People care.
I guess I assumed my tenure was secure. And then, COVID-19 happened. Now for the first time in 20 years, I can’t afford to take any classes. I am not teaching four classes each semester. Instead, I am working hands-on figuring out how to be a COVID-19 displaced former associate professor.
I wake up. Maybe have coffee, less often, breakfast. Around 10:30 am I sit and peddle in the deep end of the pool. Lately I’ve begun reading again for fun. So, I float in the pool, reading Snow Crash while I wake into the day. These are the best moments of being unemployed. The moments of freedom. The reflections and ripples of water, the hummingbirds and dragonflies quiet my anxiety. Spending time in the sun and kicking my feet in the pool helps me reassess the possibilities. Unfortunately, I can’t decide if I love or hate the freedom. I just do what helps me to do the next right thing 🙂
Being a COVID-19 displaced faculty has me reassessing my values and priorities. At 54, I am an early “retiree”. What is my retirement plan? I have so many dreams, most require money…and healthcare. Bam, just like that, I see freedom in the time value of money; I understand the MBA class I took last year for fun and just-in-case. I don’t think early retirement is ideal.
I am learning to embrace contradictions. I hope this helps me navigate my feelings about being without a professional title or institutional affiliation. I have been dreaming. I have found old memories of my growing up in my sleeping dream stories and others in my personal diaries and journals. I want to learn to play again. I think during this pandemic, many of us share this dream.
For now, I wake up and think in the pool. This blog is the result of floating since May when I lost my job. Now, months later I am processing my summer experience and giving myself a platform for interacting with the world. I miss my classes. That sounds crazy when you consider that I taught four, occasionally five classes every semester for the past 20 years!
⇓SIDE NOTE: Everyone has free access to the PDF articles on my business website. I am the owner, web manager, and database administrator of This Bridge Called Cyberspace (est. 2007).