Finally! I am back in Vermont with the family after a month of the Appalachian Writing Project Summer Institute. Being back in a classroom setting, as the student this time, was a huge deal. I was so much better than I was the first time around, reading my assignments, contributing to class discussions, completing all written work on time, never skipping class because I’d partied the night before or because there was something better going on…I loved it. The last few days, though, I started thinking that if I ever do go back to school, the adjustments we’d have to make will be quite major. One thing I relearned about myself is that I need near sensory deprivation to read or write anything more substantial than “O” magazine or a blog entry. My mind refused to lock in on the work i had to do unless all distractions were removed for a sustained period of time.
I’m a procrastinator and I get distracted freakishly easily, yet once I am finally in the zone it’s very hard for me to come up for air and politely face friendly interruptions.
The other thing I noticed about my student persona is that at the end of a long, stimulating day, I have almost no mental capacity left. You might think that is an obvious one, but what I mean is that once I got home around 4 pm, I lacked the will or energy to be social, even for something as laid back as Celtic night at Jackie O’s with a friend, or yoga class, which of course would have been very good for me. The to-do list I’d generated once Aaron and the girls left had to be seriously adjusted once I discovered that the energy I thought I’d have was much less than I’d anticipated.
After interacting all day, my soul craved the solitude of the house because my entire being needed to recover before the next day’s class. A lot of this has to do with my growing awareness of the more research-based complexities of introversion, the focus of the big paper I need to write as my culminating assignment for the class. The more I learn about my own introverted tendencies, the more I get the way I’ve dealt with so much in my life. It’s not all bad, not all good, but it really fascinates me, and the one thing I know now that seems non-negotiable from now on is that I need way more alone time than I’ve been getting the past several years. This, I think, is why I’m constantly trying to tweak my career, why I’m forever seeking the sweet spot where it all seems to fit together a little better. We’ll see how it goes. I am in the thick of big thoughts.