Fifteen Weeks (30)

I know I don’t do well without taking days off, days where I don’t even turn on the computer. I have colleagues who think nothing of working seven days a week, who seem to do it by choice. But I have to walk away from it, shed the cords tying me to my students, to faculty, be apart from it all in order to stay sane, stay whole. Still, I am no stranger to long stretches without time off, and when I added the new piece of my job I agreed to working seven days through these three periods, about 15 or maybe 17 weeks all told per academic year. My mind always wants to do the math on that, as if to reassure myself several weeks remain untouched. (52 minus 15 = 37. Whew.) Right now, Day 44, this seventh week of no days off feels like it’s been a year already. My perspective is skewed, lost, and a bit of me, too, I am pretty sure. Still, I think I’ve navigated these weeks better than I’ve ever been able to before. The cats have only suffered a little loss of attention, I think, and I’ve been less patient with Mami. (Which is bad, of course, because I’m not very patient to begin with.) But I haven’t yelled at the cats for no reason. There has been no screaming into the phone. And I haven’t ended up in a puddle on the floor, hysterics my only way to release the mounting stress. So, I hold the thought of Friday in my heart, Day 49, my first day off after 48 days. I count myself lucky to have come so far unscathed. And that welling of gratitude seeps through my cracks and eases something inside me, and I know days 45 through 48 will be easier than I first imagined.

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