Overwhelmed. Before this week is over, I will grade 75 narrative essays, 50 annotated bibliographies, and I’ll read and comment on 300 student journal entries.

No, it’s not normal. It’s the most abnormal week of the semester, and somehow I survive it twice a year. I coax myself through with promises of future reward: spring break in Santa Fe, a summer vacation in Colorado.

But this year is different. For reasons entirely of my making, I have an inordinate amount of outside-of-school duties also demanding my time. Don’t ask.

That’s why I smile when—with concerned expressions on their faces—friends ask what I’m going to do when I retire. I want to tell them my problem always has been too much not too little activity, that, too often, I’ve mistaken busyness for meaningfulness.

Which highlights the self-promise getting me through this season of overwhelmingness. It’s the same reward that sent a young Henry David Thoreau to Walden Pond. Call it getting back to the essentials of life:

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover I had not lived.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *