Thursday, September 2, 2010

Life of the Mind

There's been this weird thing going around the academic blogosphere lately. We're all, all of a sudden, looking inwards.** And this shift seems to be happening at around the same time.

For the few years that I've been blogging, some of my favorite bloggers have been in the same space that I have: get a job, write a book, do a conference, find a publisher, do those edits. Or, to break it down: go, go, GO!

Now, it seems, we have all independently, but oddly simultaneously, decided that go-time is over, and now is the time to stop.

It seems like at least once a week, I pull up someone's blog post and she (usually it's a she) is writing about my life. Here are what my colleagues are doing:
  • morning meditations, to quiet the chatter in the mind, and to remind us that it's okay to be slow now and then
  • yoga, or other forms of physical exercise, for both mental and physical benefits
  • realizing that we don't have to care what other people think about us, and that if they try to tell us we're no damn good, it may be that they're wrong; certainly, we don't have to stand there and take it
  • attempting to regain a more positive attitude in a sea of negativity; not getting sucked into a culture of complaint (I've actually made a pact with three of my colleagues on this one; we're going to see if we can make it spread). There's plenty to complain about, and we undoubtedly will from time to time, but we don't have to live there.
Why is all this going around now? Is it because we have or are approaching tenure? Is it because we are or are approaching 40? Is it the time to think afforded by sabbaticals? Is it because we're just plain worn out? Whatever it is, I think we may be headed for a better life this way.

**viz: my "omphaloskepsis" label has been getting a serious workout for the last 4 months.


Ruviana said...

Well, I've had tenure for years and I'm 58 and I feel this way too. So maybe it's the zeitgeist (a bunch of us where I teach are trying to be positive and upbeat too).

undine said...

I think it may be true, too, and you inspired me to post about it today.

Dr. S said...

(On this note, I leave in the afternoon tomorrow for a weekend at the monastery!)

Comrade PhysioProf said...


Earnest English said...

I'm coming on board to not indulge in or spread any more negativity. As I'm sure is the case at many universities just now, some professors are a bundle of nerves and can't help (or delight in) sharing their paranoia, which I find pretty devastating. No more!

Digger said...

Well, I don't have tenure (the closest I am is filling out PhD program applications), so I'm going to go with the "approaching 40" thing.

And I am also onboard with nixing the negativity.