Well, the school year is once again knocking at my door. Syllabi and related materials need to be copied and neatly stacked for students and I need to prepare my opening day lectures.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I truly enjoy teaching and it's been a good summer. Still, I'm grabbing a vacation before everything academic re-commences. After witnessing the opening ceremonies for the Olympics on Friday, it's off to the beach with me for some much-needed down time. While not truly packed yet, I have my beach towel folded - Douglas Adams taught me to always know where my towel is - and a stack of reading material (ranging from months-old magazines I haven't had a chance to read to throwaway novels to Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea) ready to go.
You might think that a vacation isn't really warranted in my profession - after all, I'm a professional educator; don't we get summers off?
Oh, naive reader. That's just so cute! No, really - that's adorable. Have a lemon drop.
The truth is that I'm what's known as a "twelve-monther." Therefore, I teach during the summer session as well as the traditional fall and spring semesters. So summer off? Not so much, as Buffy might say.
What it does mean is that it is crucial for me to know when I need to stop and put on my oxygen mask. A friend gave me this image a few years back, and I just love it. If you've ever flown and listened to the flight attendant's spiel about all things safety-related, you will remember that a standard part of the talk is a bit about sudden decompression in the cabin. After telling you that you will hardly ever need to know this, the attendant reminds you how to put on the mask and then says something along the lines of "If you are traveling with a small child or someone in need of assistance, put your own mask on first, then assist the other person." (Emphasis mine, by the way.) In other words, you can't help anyone else if you can't breathe. The lesson here is that sometimes you have to just stop and breathe for yourself before you can go on to help someone else.
So I'm off to the beach to breathe for a few days. See you soon and I'll try to bring you a shell or two.