minutia press.
New Year

It's that time of year again, when I observe the Jewish new year, think about things that I could have done better this past year, and make hopeful plans for the next.

It's the annual inventory of the soul -- a time to take stock and figure what might be next. And my inventory is depending on supply-side economics.

It's happening for the first time in my Sabbatical year at work. And so far my best-laid plans for Sabbatical splendor have paled from what I had originally hoped. I am not getting to spend the kind of time I'd like with my grad students. I've barely started at the DSSI, and the Temple stuff is only going so well.

I had hoped for time to think about things, time to reflect on research and grand ideas, and I'm barely able to keep up with things just as usual.

At home, life is even more hectic than ever: Sunday school, religious school, Gesher 8th grade school, middle school, elementary school, open houses, teacher meetings, volleyball practice, soccer practice, birthday parties, block parties, TOPLAS work, GRE work, the book that isn't getting written work, trying to get the next research grant funded work: the list just goes on and on and on.

Kids getting up at 6:30 and not going to bed until 10:00. Tired, exhuasted, feeling like I'm in a rut and on a treadmill at the same time.

Blues not playing probably at all this year, HNA hockey not starting for another month, the trip to Mexico that's probably a big mistake, the new house that didn't work out. No TV show to follow this year, gave up our Rep tickets, don't have a regular sitter, no plans to go out, no plans to have people over, no plans to do anything except raise kids, work, and sleep. I couldn't tell you what movies are playing now let alone tell you which ones I liked or wanted to see.

No real friends to speak of, not like I had in NY, and I don't keep in touch like I should with the friends I do have. Haven't had anybody over to the house for dinner since I can remember. I'm being pulled in 100 different directions and not doing anything very well.

My plans for this post are to let it stand until Yom Kippur when I hope to have some sense of how to turn all of this around. Then I will delete the post and go back to the "Gee everything's great at Minutia Press" theme.

Any helpful advice very much appreciated.


Greetings from my new perch over at the med school.

How old are your kids, anyway? I kind of imagined them being old enough to take care of themselves, at least long enough so mom and dad could enjoy an evening out once in a while.

You definitely need to do this - get away from the parenting role and remember how to be a person in your own right. It's not selfish. It's necessary. And ultimately important for your kids too. They need to see that you have a life outside of them because think how horrible that would be - to be the total center of someone's universe, but knowing that you're going to leave.

I'm saying this to you from a rapidly emptying nest. I didn't always take the advice I'm giving you so freely, but it's worth considering anyway. Kids old enough to do all that stuff are old enough to keep from destroying the house (and each other) long enough for you and your wife to have a date - and some fun.

Posted by: Elaine at September 20, 2004 11:55 AM

Kids are 13, 11, 6. We can leave them home for short periods of time, but we need a sitter, and have no troulble getting one really, when we go out. It just seems like everything is so busy now. Thanks for the advice

Hope things work out great at the med school.

Posted by: rkc at September 20, 2004 5:14 PM

I'm the classical definition of the term "Type A personality." I often wake up in the middle of the night, thinking of something I forgot to do or need to do first thing the next morning. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt when I am not completely successful in every area of my life. But once I started to realize that I cannot control everything, I began feeling, oddly enough, more in control of my life. Of course, I still have days where I feel like my life is a failure because I still have debt, I haven't really started saving any money and my job is nuts. Perspective is really important to have when I feel stretched too thin things could always be worse. I have a great family, great friends, a (mostly) fun job and a wonderful significant other. And you do, too.

My only advice to you is to make time to relax and have fun. So many people run themselves ragged with church, temple, work, chores, errands, kids' activities, etc. that they can't see fitting in a night out into their schedule. But you will certainly have a mental breakdown or see a decline in your health if you don't figure out a way to enjoy life. All of the meetings, books to be written, birthday parties and teacher meetings in the world can't help you if you can no longer mentally or physically take part in them. (Plus, my parents were always much nicer to be around when they weren't stressed out.)

Please don't disregard what I have to say because you think I'm kidding. I'm not. Plan a night out with your wife sometime in the next couple of weeks, and make it special. Try to invite another couple you know that you would like to be better friends with. Make sure it's more than just dinner. Maybe dinner plus a jazz club, a wine bar or that dueling piano bar I have heard so much about. Then please call me not only am I old enough to be responsible, but I babysat just about every weekend from 7th-12th grade. Michael might even accompany me, and we could make sure your kids aren't plopped in front of the TV the whole night. (He's big into "educational fun." Your kids will know all about the Jurassic Era and the history of ninjas by the time you get back.) It could be our treat to you for providing us with your insight, humor and wisdom day after day.

(And I think Yom Kippur will be really good for your peace of mind, too.)

Posted by: Rachel at September 21, 2004 1:24 PM

If you're ever on campus and you want a break, I'd love to grab some Mallinckrodt food or whatever. I haven't had a chance to stop by, but from the looks of it you're really busy.

Things will lighten up and you'll develop a routine that works for you.

Posted by: Ed at September 21, 2004 7:23 PM

Wow thanks! I'll take you up on this, Rachel, michael (hope he knows what he's in for), and Ed.

Another thought is that I might like the educational fun stuff too much to go out. Nah...I'll go out!

Thanks again...

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