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.”