I got a reminder e-mail yesterday about sending a brief blurb on my "achievements and accomplishments" to my boss, so the information could be disseminated out (if the achievements are notable enough, I presume) at the next faculty meeting. We get the call to do this about once or twice an academic year. Some years I feel like I've got a good collection of acceptable achievements to send out: there was the year I got an essay published in this book, for instance, and the years I attended conferences and even presented work, and the spring I participated in a reading from my published essay. But there have been some dry years, too; years in which the things I feel I've accomplished just aren't quite measurable where I work (helping L. make it through a tumultuousday/week/month/quarter at school, just getting through the day/week/month/quarter, getting up the nerve to even send things off for publication, never mind whether or not they end up published, writing my posts here each day, keeping the house together, reading a book, losing three pounds, staying on top of the laundry, finding time to exercise...and the list could go on). This year has been feeling a little dry, in the professional accomplishments department, but after the reminder e-mail, and the reminder phone call, I sat down and typed something up and sent it out, feeling a little inadequate all the while, and really wishing I could have sent a list like the one above, to really show all I've accomplished in the space of even just one week.
L. has been doing a lot of lamenting and complaining lately about how how he doesn't want to do what other people want him to do. Ever. "I should be able to use my time the way I want to," he will say, and it's our tedious job, as parents, to let him know that no one ever gets to use their time in exactly the ways they want to. Learning to do things that are boring, or unpleasant, or not interesting, is just a part of existence in our world, whether we want to face that fact or not. I wish it didn't have to be the case, but it is.
"I don't get to do what I want to do all day," I pointed out to L. the last time this topic came up.
This was like a shocking revelation to him.
"But you LIKE everything you do. You LIKE your job, and you get paid for it," he pointed out, after he'd recovered from the shock.
I told him it still wasn't my fantasy-world existence.
In my fantasy world, I told L., I wouldn't be teaching--not because I don't like it (I do, very much), but because it takes away from my creative life. I would have my own personal office, neatly organized and well-lit. There wouldn't be a drop of clutter there, and nothing that would give me the excuse to hop up and clean. I'd spend my morning working on my writing, then just before lunch I'd head out and swim laps for about an hour. Then I'd eat a light lunch, and work some more. At about 3:00 I'd pick up my kids and we'd spend a fun-filled afternoon--one that didn't include any mention whatsoever of homework, and of course no bickering or belittling, and at dinnertime I'd never have to waste precious time trying to create healthy balanced meals out of not-enough-ingredients because I'd always have the time and money to keep the pantry and refrigerator well-stocked. Everyone would also eat everything I prepared because, while I like cooking and baking, I don't like spending time on a meal that no one will eat.
Oh, and I would get paid for it all.