Tag Archives: escape

Fly Away

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I work too much. Classic humblebrag and the most annoying answer ever to the what-is-your-greatest-weakness interview question. Can it be true anyway? Asking for a friend.

I avoided the Enneagram for a long time but succumbed recently in a moment of weakness and think I may have broken it. Supposedly a 3, but possibly a 1. The official article differentiating the two types made it perfectly clear that I am a 3 (sometimes) and a 1 (sometimes). Thanks a lot, Enneagram.

But one common trait stuck out to me: Both tend to work too much.

3s are told: “Take breaks. You can drive yourself and others to exhaustion with your relentless pursuit of your goals. Ambition and self-development are good qualities, but temper them with rest periods in which you reconnect more deeply with yourself.”

And 1s are told: “Learn to relax. Take some time for yourself, without feeling that everything is up to you or that what you do not accomplish will result in chaos and disaster. Mercifully, the salvation of the world does not depend on you alone, even though you may sometimes feel it does.”

Alright I get it. But I’m a little confused on what to do about it right now.

This is a weird way to observe that it is supposedly summer at work following graduations on Saturday. Summer is typically a time to reflect on a busy academic year, make adjustments and plan for the year to come, and even take a week or two to get away from it all and breathe. That last part doesn’t come easy for me, and I’m struggling to remember when that has truly happened in the past couple of years. Work conferences, family events, officiating weddings and funerals—sure, I remember going places, but we even scheduled our 25th wedding anniversary trip over a holiday weekend because there was work to do.

Don’t hear this as complaint or a plea for sympathy or an attempt to impress (although that blasted Enneagram might argue otherwise!). No, I think I am just processing my own brand of mental illness. Temperatures are in the 80s, the calendar is less cluttered, and I hear Lenny Kravitz singing in my head about wanting to get away, but alas, there is nowhere to go. Plus, there really is so much critical work to be done to plan for a thousand possible scenarios.

What to do? Well, Enneagram 3s are told, “For our real development, it is essential to be truthful. Be honest with yourself and others about your genuine feelings and needs.”

It’s a start, I guess. Talk to me, Lenny…

I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

Evening Sky in Summer

IMG_0751I sat in the rocking chair on our front porch to finish Joyce’s Dubliners and propped a foot up on the post, a picture of serenity on a late and sticky Tennessee summer evening. But I confess that the picture was deceiving.

I love to work, which has been a good thing lately because there has been a lot of it. There is the normal (abnormal) load associated with my role on campus, and then there is the typical added challenge when moving to an entirely new environment. But add to that the departmental reorganization that we are walking out and then the fact that my wife has been gone for the past couple of weeks moving our youngest daughter across the country so that nothing has prevented my working around the clock—the result is a level of intensity that is abnormal even for me.

It is obvious that this pace is unsustainable and even unhealthy. One of my role models in the profession recently shared an Instagram meme that said, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Even you.”

Thanks, Connie. I will get there soon.

But on that evening, sitting in that rocking chair after another exhausting day, I tried to slow my mind and escape to a Christmas soirée in Dublin over a hundred years ago. And once there I looked up and noticed the loveliest evening sky. And smiled.