I was back at work full time on Monday after my "spring break." This week was the hardest I have worked at teaching since I was a beginner. Back in my younger days it was easier to spend every hour of the day working. With two kids constantly around me it was a little more difficult.
It has been really good for my soul to be interacting with my students again, no matter how hard I have been working to keep my head above water. All the work with my classes and watching my kids has also been a welcome distraction. I just don't have the time to check the news during the day or cry tears of rage like I was doing the prior two weeks. During that time I was also consumed by the anxiety of whether I would be able to be an effective teacher online or just fuck it up. I seem to be doing alright based on the feedback I am getting.
The main thing I have been doing is to be on guard against my biggest weaknesses. One of them is that I am not a fan of calendars, organizers, or and rigid systems of life planning. I keep it all up in the old noodle, so to speak, and tend to find the work of writing down everything I am planning to do to be a huge waste of my time. If I know what I am about to do, why should I have to fill out the adult equivalent of a worksheet?
As you can guess, this system of mine fails from time to time. Another weakness I have is not responding to emails until I know EXACTLY what I want to say. Now I am just firing off responses the second I get emails because if I don't I know I will start screwing up again. This does lead to some real fatigue at the end of the day but so far I think I have managed to keep myself on a good path.
I have also been spending a lot of time talking with friends and loved ones. My wife and I have been talking more than usual to our parents. I called up an old friend and talked for an hour on Thursday, and both of us participated in a Zoom happy hour with our fellow grad school friends that went on for hours. Today I did yard work and shot the shit with my friends next door as they did the same. It felt good.
In a weird way the quarantine has allowed me to only really socialize with the people I actually want to talk to, namely my friends, family, and students. This is pretty much what teenage me would have died for. As much as I want the quarantine to end I do not know how I will adjust to having to be out in public and being forced to interact with garden variety assholes.
That thought reminds me that I have consciously decided not to be such a nice person. It is obvious that people in this part of the country are dying because the government refuses to provide proper support. I have tried hard to be the bigger person when conservative friends and family antagonize me over politics, but those days are over. If they can't understand that the well-being of my family and I is at stake I am more than happy to tell them to fuck off. I already had to do this on Facebook with a high school friend who has spent years trolling me without offering any other kinds of interaction. Why should I keep someone like that in my life?
So if I make it out of this I am pledging to stop tolerating other people's bullshit. I am also thinking of getting a tattoo for the same reason. Life is short and I have really stopped giving a damn about what people think of me. That admirable habit from my youth, which I sloughed off in the adult quest for a path in life, is back and I am glad for it.