A Very Long Sabbatical
I’ve decided that after this semester’s over (in December), I’m going to take 1-2 years off from school. I’ve been pushing myself very hard for 4 years now (since the fall of 2010) with only one summer break. My brain hurts! I’m clawing at the fuzzy realization that it’s only two months away.
I remember the last day I worked at Dialamerica. I was a telemarketer (the woman everybody loved to hate!) and as I got out of the car, pregnant with my son, Brian, I put one foot on the pavement and it was all I could do to heave and ho and drag my other foot out. I hated every second of it. I thought to myself, “This is the last day I’ll come here. No more.” And that was it.
Well that’s how I’m starting to feel about school. I have chronic TMJ gnawing away at my head like a deranged hamster- the pain is gnawing at the pain, and it’s every day. Sleep is the only comfort I have because it’s the only time I’m not in pain. It’s making my schoolwork virtually unbearable. I just don’t feel good. I have the immune system of steel, I really do. I haven’t had the flu (or even a cold) in a year, and before that, it was another year. I seldom get sick, but I pay in pain in every other way.
As long as I’m convicted and driven by principle- I’m in it for the long haul. But this lukewarm romance with college is falling away and I’m scrutinizing the “balance” of it now. I have 3-4 years to go before I get my Master’s. By then, I’ll be 50! I don’t want to wait until I’m a burnt out shell to record my songs and work on my art and photography. (This is not a new song I’m singing. It was the same thing last year, and the year before.)
My mind is tired. The stress and hard work are taking their toll. For anybody who’s never been to college that might think it’s easy to be a full-time student year after year, not so! it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, continually. I don’t have the best track record in the world either. I have many ambitions and dreams! I’ve followed through on a few of them. But I’m suffering, and I just need a good, long sabbatical. Like- 2 years. I’ll be able to get a “hardship deferral”, so that’s not a problem.
And if I’m honest, part of me doesn’t care if I never return. I’m just So. Burnt. Out.
Josh is very supportive of this executive decision. It means that I won’t get my Bachelor’s in 2016, but I miss the clouds and my photo-walks and my editing and my guitar playing and my dreaming and I miss the wondering of what the next day brings!
If I have to smell the air of indifference one more day I’m going to break. I’m watching the world spin from under my microscope and I get to be part of it when I go to the store. Yay! It’s not enough. I’m dying inside and I can’t let myself turn into an old, predictable, flaccid curmudgeon! So I’m counting down the days before I’m set free of this academic cocoon.
Today, I was sitting at a red light. I surveyed the scene and it was flat and dull. Cars turned and moved and sat and beeped and it was all very “normal”. I didn’t feel the least bit inspired by anything and felt stale inside. And then I realized why. My “photographic eye” has been asleep for months! When I’m actively taking pictures, daily, then I’m burning with fire inside- I’m alive. My eye is sharp and keen- like a hawk- and it’s quick and I see shots everywhere. I hear stories everywhere. People “speak” just in their gestures and I’m the storyteller, or, my camera is.
Today I was looking at the world through non-photographic eyes and it scared the crap out of me. As I’ve said before, school is choking the artist in me, and I have to do something different for a while. Besides, I want to focus more on my writing. Poetry, memoir, who knows? It’s yet to be explored and that excites me. :0)
But more than anything- I want to take pictures again and wander around with my camera- lost in the moment. That sounds like Heaven…