The Scamp Celebrates the Return of Spring

I officially survived the winter of my discontent. It no longer gets dark at 3pm, I don’t need to have a heater on 24/7 and this weekend I wore a sundress with no tights (apologies for everyone who was blinded by the glare coming off my very white legs). I enjoyed every minute of the real Mexican food (thanks Taco Libre) and the crime beers (sorry not sorry).

The thing about Spring in Scotland though, is that it usually only lasts a day. It was a good Saturday in this case. Today I ran three miles in the rain and I am pretty sure the rest of the week has rain in the forecast. Only in Scotland.

Spring is supposed to be a time of awakening; a time of rebirth. This Spring is more a zombie crawl to a mound of fresh cut grass. After a year in lockdown, and almost a year and a half since I was able to travel, I’m feeling tired. I want to escape the UK for a warm beach more than I want to pay off my student loans, more than I want to lose the 20 lbs that are still plaguing me and almost more than I want a puppy or a kitty. I saw a news article that Malta will pay people to visit this summer, and if it already wasn’t my favourite countries, it is now. I’m hoping that the UK lists it as one of the countries that you will not need to quarantine for upon return because I have my entire annual leave allotment for the year and a growing disinterest in my job and being nice to people.

I know that I am not the only person who feels like this. Everyone that I know (especially in academia which already had a sucky work/life balance) is feeling tired. Today I was in a meeting at 11 am and a member of staff fell asleep. Camera and mic on in small discussion, straight up pushed their chair back, stretched out their legs and closed their eyes. I started off really annoyed and angry that I was wasting my time in a workshop that people clearly were not interested in, but having had some time to sit with it, I have a feeling that the person is simply just burned out. Everyday academics spend hours in pointless meetings, or teaching, or staring at their computer screens while they mark assignments. We are being told that we need to bend over backwards to meet all of the demands of our students and to create resources that will make life at the university easier. We are doing all of that without anyone doing the same for us. Most of us are also doing it on shitty equipment provided by the Uni, or, as in my case most days, using our own personal equipment. When my tablet dies, the Uni will not be replacing it. They also do not pay my electric or internet bills, and yet both of those cost me a lot each month.

I feel selfish complaining since a lot of people are out of jobs, the economy sucks, and many of the people graduating now will not be as fortunate on the job hunt as I was…..but I find it very hard to be grateful when I am over-worked, underpaid, and sometimes underappreciated.

So, I am hoping that the old adage of April showers bring May flowers is true and that better days are on the horizon. I also hopes it means I have less meetings with Napademics who would rather snooze than listen to all the brilliant things I have to say about assessment and feedback.

A Scamp and the Springtime

Today marks the first day of Spring (well, not really in California since it has basically been like summer since last summer). Spring is a time of rebirth, a time to clean out the old and make room for the new.

It is a time for change.

But who gets to determine where the old ends and the new begins? Is it a day on the calendar? A birthday? A new year? Is it an event?

That change, ideally, should be something that gives us hope. It gives a new way to view the world, a new way to view our world. It is about letting go of old habits, bad memories. It becomes vital that we never stop believing that we can start over, that we can create a new beginning. It’s important to remember though that sometimes, amongst all the shit, bad habits, and bad memories are a few things worth holding on to.

I have been saying for the better part of a year that it is time for a change. I’ve been saying it, but the change I am seeking has yet to really happen. I’ve been trying different things, figuring out what works and what doesn’t. I am now one year removed from heartstompapolooza, but I am not quite sure I have changed and matured enough. At times, for every one step forward, I took three steps back. For every little mountain I climbed, I tripped and rolled off a cliff. I’ve been lucky enough to have a good support system to help me through the backsliding, but it leaves me to wonder: why is permanent change so scary?

I was recently asked why I constantly say I am going to change some of the more negative aspects of my personality. but then fail to really do so. That made me think of a quote from one of the Grey’s Anatomy episodes I continually binge on:

 Change… We don’t like it, we fear it. But we can’t stop it from coming. We either adapt to change, or we get left behind. It hurts to grow. Anybody who tells you it doesn’t, is lying. 

Anyone who really knows me knows that I hate hurting. I take a lot of medication to keep myself from hurting. I avoid emotions and keep myself closed up to keep from hurting. I stubbornly refuse to change aspects of my personality because I do not want to go through the pain that comes with breaking down old habits, and trying to build new ones (for me, that usually involves a lot of tears, and let’s face it, I am a messy crier).

A year ago, I weathered the pain to make some very necessary changes. I spent the last few months in Scotland happier than I had been in years. I had the help of a professional, but I was finally (and somewhat painfully) learning how to break old habits and change my way of thinking.

Spring means the fast approaching deadline to sign up for insurance.  Even though I am less than thrilled about my options on that front, I am looking forward to having the option to see a professional for more than the four sessions the school gives me to put me back on the track I was on in Scotland.

Because in the end