As I approach my 55th birthday this weekend, I really cannot tell if I am getting depressed or just bored in my situation. So much feels like “going through the motions.”
After 25 years wandering along the margins of academia, how have I ended up so submerged in its tributaries of trivial regulations, trite deadlines, and trendy “professional development” courses?
The heaviness comes in waves, never anything utterly crushing. Not like when I was in my late 20’s and early 30’s. Back then, I could enter a time like this, and I would not see the other side of it two or three weeks. Now, I’m never in the doldrums for more than a little while on a given day–30 minutes here, a couple of hours there.
Nonetheless, all of this weighs on me because so much of my actual work concerns having the energy to talk with youth about philosophizing, knowledge-gathering, and the art of questioning. I like to consider this mind-walking with others to discover a path to liberation. When my embodiment becomes this wobbly feeling–a sensation that is simultaneously pleasant and unpleasant–I am turned away from my vocational theme.
That is, that which normally fires up my passions and captures my attention becomes more like a distraction. But a distraction from what? Myself? My husband, family, and friends? Philosophizing? The World?
Have I made myself too accessible to the institutional systems that make up the networks of advanced instruction in our culture? I feel hemmed in by the need to demonstrate outcomes. There is no place in institutional learning for those who want to meander through the world. Everything, even if it is a bit down the line, needs a plan of operation, a predetermined outcome, etc.
I write this to express my situation out loud for further exploration rather than just to keep it mulling over in my head-space. I already don’t feel as exhausted as when I started to write. Guess I will clean up some stuff around the house now.