An Early Winter

This morning, I had a great idea for a blog post.

I was going to write about how the essence of finding contentment and even joy in life comes from finding a way to accept loss. “Living means losing,” I was going to intone sagely. The struggle in life comes from refusing to admit this, or from the inability to find a way to escape being captured by this reality.

Trust me, in my head this sounded really cool.

But now it’s almost 11 at night, and I’m tired. I’ve been plowing through grading, dealing with a child home sick from school for two days, trying to plan for my classes, running to and from the campus where I teach, dealing with students unhappy with their grades, with students who seem not to have understood that they are supposed to have been actually using in their writing all the concepts we’ve discussed in class. And despite assignment sheets and rubrics, they don’t understand why essays with multiple spelling and syntax errors are only getting mediocre grades.

These aren’t all of my students. Several of them have done quite well, and/or have clearly shown that they’re getting the concepts even if they can’t yet execute them as well as they’d like. In any case, it’s not that I blame them. For most students, grades are the name of the game. Which is only one of the reasons I hate grades (I don’t have giving feedback; I hate having that all distilled down to “But did I get the grade I wanted…”).

Maybe after all the way I’m feeling is about loss. It’s about the loss of interest in getting better, even when that involves making mistakes. It’s about the idea of “getting through” rather than immersing yourself and seeing what happens.

Maybe it’s about losing myself in this morass of institutional achievement: compiling credits, chasing numbers, shuffling folks on to their degrees.

Maybe it’s about losing the feeling that I can find some place in this culture presenting my perspective, my experience, my deepest self is enough.

Whatever it is, I know that I’m feeling a sense of loss. And I know that I can only deal with it by letting myself feel it, then getting up tomorrow and doing the best I can. That’s going to have to be enough for now.

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