I’ve been ambling along, telling myself that I’m OK, I’ve got a plan to get through all this, I’m fine, go away, leave me alone, I’ve got work to do. Maybe I’ve been wrong, though. Maybe I’m just really good at burying my worries. Then I ran into this simple illustration that brought my situation into focus.
I’m looking at my dashboard, and seeing that my engine status is not a solid green at all. It’s more like a solid yellow that occasionally flutters orange as my engine stutters sporadically. If I were a car, I’d be saying we ought to get this thing into the shop to be checked out (and honestly, if I were a car, I’d more likely be saying that we can coax a few more miles out of it and put off the bother of maintenance a little longer.)
I’m also thinking that there are just two things preventing me from crashing into the red.
- The election was not totally disastrous. If the orange disaster had been re-elected, I’d be panicking that the starboard engine was on fire and the hydraulics have been cut and there’s no way to lower the landing gear — we’re going in for a belly landing in rugged terrain (yes, I’m aware that my metaphor has become airborne, but that’s to make the catastrophe more clear). Putting Biden in office just means I can sputter along in the yellow, not that everything is fixed.
- The nature of my job is such that I have semesters of overwork separated by longish breaks. Everything is coming to a head in my classes right now, but by next weekend I’ll have the grading all done and can unwind with a lab full of spiders for a month and a half. It’s not quite enough to push my status into the green, because another semester looms beyond that, but it will help stabilize me in the yellow. I don’t think the surges in stress are the best way to teach or the best way to learn, but it’s the system we’ve got.
It does not escape my notice that yellow is not a good condition to be in.
What about you? Is your engine purring, grinding, or bursting into flames?