Three Concerns before the Beginning of a New School Year

long beach at dusk As the last few days of the summer break slip away from me I find myself in an interesting state of mind. I'm very anxious about the classes I'll be teaching (no doubt over-thinking everything, as is my habit) and while I have been getting a lot done at home and in the lab, I find that my afternoons and evenings are very much about avoiding getting anything done. It's like, because I have been more productive than usual and I have a much better handle on what I have to have prepared before the school year begins, the avoidance is absolutely amazing. I mean, I've spent the past week staying up to 4 AM moving my iTunes collection to a network drive that I'd just purchased and then ripped a bunch of my favorite DVDs to the network drive so that I could then put them on my 5th gen iPod. Of course I had to pretty much re-watch the DVDs as I burned 'em. Yeah, better work avoidance through better technology!

As I was thinking about this avoidance my first response was that, "Well, at least I wasn't just playing a game or something like that." I mean, I was being "productive" on personal stuff that I wanted to get done, moving DVDs, MP3s and the like (before working on the new network drive, I was uploading old photos to Flickr and sending them to friends and family). The funny thing is this is so much like dad. What I mean is that when we were kids we spent our Saturdays working on the yard, which I later figured out was his version of "play." We were being productive and not wasting time doing stuff like throwing around a football or playing some game, but it was never about the "job being done" as much as the fact that dad enjoyed working on the yard. These days they'd call that "gardening." I thought that it was torture. Anyway, I've clearly learned how to use this personal "productivity" thing to stay busy while not getting done the stuff that actually needs to get done.Other levels of anxiety and concern come from my church's continued tenuous existence. I know this is something that I should write about in my "Jacob's Ladder" blog. The gist is that we continue to hover below an average church attendance of between 15 and six persons (including myself and the pastor and his wife!). And while I absolutely love that I've had the opportunity to lead the worship for the past three weeks, I'd rather not be the one at the helm when the ship goes down (that would suck). Add to that I've thus far failed as far as the original reason that I left Newport and switched to this church: to find a fellowship where I could plug into a home study that meets regularly because it's hard to get the support one needs with just a Sunday morning existence. Having assumed a greater responsibility requires that I have a deeper support system and failing at that I know I'm more vulnerable than I care for. I can't continue to serve and continue to live like a rogue.

All of which leads to my third concern, my association with You-know-who. Since she stopped sharing residences with her still-soon-to-be-ex two months ago she seems to have settled into her new life relatively well. There are a host of little irritating reminders that the divorce isn't final, which is to be expected, but on a whole she seems to have adapted to the full-time responsibility of maintaining the house, making sure the kids are taken care of (even when they're supposed to be with the other person), and getting her job done. That's all very good. What's not so good is that I continue to hover in this middle place between buddy and boyfriend and I'd say that out of the past 60 days I've probably been "boyfriend" maybe five or six time and been "buddy" the other 54/55. Again, given the anticipated pressure of a new school year, I don't think I can emotionally survive with this 1-to-10 average. Don't get me wrong, I think she's doing very well, given all the variables and pressures and the like. I just know myself well enough to know that I'm already suffering from emotional anemia and can't continue living this way into the new school year. Of course, barring a change in her patterns, my options (to "move on") would put me in the 0-to-10 group, making the "solution" not much better than the dilemma. Little wonder I find it hard to concentrate and am easily overwhelmed by anxiety with I think about the next few months of the new school year. I know that I only have myself to blame if I am less than successful this coming year, I just wish that the support system were in place as I begin, instead of feeling like I'm still having to do all of this on my own. I hate sounding whiney but I guess that's better than drinking my concerns "away." JBB