The snow melts and with it the comfort of having done enough work over the weekend plus two snow days the C. District happily bestowed upon us. Slow and steady drops of condensation hit my dormant in-window AC system making it impossible to take a nap as an effort to stop the many thoughts on my mind. When my mind goes on overdrive, the default is to take a nap and if that fails, I open up another word file on which to dribble.
Despite several organized file folder crates, large stacks of printed and collated papers, a new office in the living room and the lack of various sizes and styles of leaning tower of Pisa replicas constructed of un-filed papers, this feeling that more could have been done haunts me as usual. When did this awful feeling begin? It was probably around 1pm today when the realization we would most certainly have school tomorrow hit me straight in the gut. It’s no surprise. The snow has melted and to be honest, school should have started back up yesterday. A small part of me, however, wanted to believe that for once the inefficiency and misdirection of the district’s actions would be in my favor via the lovely gift of yet another unexpected holiday.
There’s absolutely no way I could have saved the world, written the novel supposedly hiding inside me for years or created a work of art so beautiful my students would cry at the sight of it in this short break. The idealistic expectations I sometimes have of myself are obviously laughable. So why do I feel guilty that none of these things were achieved? Many practical things that have been weighing on my shoulders for so long are now out of the way! I should be truly elated! For awhile, I was elated. For awhile, the high of seeing an empty space in my living room where clutter and disorganization once reigned was enough. But now, like a drug addict I want more to fill my elation-jar. I wanted something thick and weighty enough to carry me through to the next semester or even to the next year.
Maybe if I had written something, even something as trivial as a poem about the snow outside my window, I could believe that I still had it. Instead, what really terrifies me is that I don’t have it and perhaps never did. In high school and college when adulthood and post-grad life were still abstract concepts, the world was open. I could imagine myself doing practically anything and no one could tell me it was impossible because I hadn’t yet jumped off of the high dive into the deep waters of real life.
Now, I’m there in the deep waters thrashing about wildly to keep my head above water. I’m really an adult. There’s no more guessing or wondering about what it’s like to support myself (mostly), to go to work, to stress about paying bills and to manage my time on my own. After what I went through and survived first semester, I truly believe I could do anything. Never in my life have I worked as hard as I have for the past year. Law school, medical school, and even becoming a politician pale in comparison to what I’ve done so far and what I will continue to do for the next year and a half. But, a work ethic and creativity are two completely different beasts. Whereas one is a self-directed renewable resource, the other is elusive and uncontrollable. The real fear I have is that the well of my creativity has been drained and I’m doomed to be just like everyone else, never having done anything truly amazing. I’m adult enough now to realize how naïve it was to think I would have something so special to say to the world.