This week, I am in the middle of a solo parenting stint. Despite the last two stressful works days and the snow, I am feeling relatively calm. In fact, I could use a snow day.
This time last year, a snow day would have derailed so many things. I used to hate snow days.
This time last year, every minute of every day, all I could think about was finishing graduate school. One year ago, I was knee-deep in finishing my dissertation draft, and every day I didn’t finish that chapter or revise or update or edit, I felt behind. I felt like I was in the longest professional race. At the same time, I was prepping a new course and short-changing myself and my students as I focused on that final push.
I know what I was doing this time last year and the year before that because I kept a painstaking record of my days in my little blue journal. Every night I log my comings and goings and I reflect on where I was this time last year and the year before that (and eventually the year before that).
Looking back at this time last year, I feel pride in my accomplishments but I also feel some sorrow for the things I know I missed as I was so myopically focused on my work. It is hard to be present for your personal and professional lives simultaneously. And snow days present the ultimate working parents’ dilemma–do you choose your family or your work?
This time last year, I know that I prioritized work over my personal life. And sometimes, that is how life goes.
This time this year, on the eve of our second snow storm this week, I feel calm knowing that tomorrow may be a snow day.
Perspective is hard to get. All I needed was a year.