Surfacing

I’m on summer vacation! Well, I still have to work, but I have two weeks – two glorious weeks – before classes start again. (I’m very glad I pushed through and got my last final – which wasn’t due until tomorrow – done on Sunday.)

Every time I’ve had a break from school, I’ve felt the same elation, the same thrill.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore school. I love the program. I love what I’m learning. I love my classmates and the professors and the readings and even the assignments. They’ve completely shifted how I see my job, my career – and the world.

But there’s still a shiver of glee that runs up my spine when I face two weeks – two full weeks! – where my life is my own again. (Well, except for that pesky “work” thing.) I think I appreciate the break even more because it is so short. I want to soak up every last second of potential.

When I’m in the throes of school, I sometimes feel like I’m underwater, just treading water, trying to keep up and balance work, school, SWAN and other commitments, all while trying to still see my friends and have a life. But I remind myself that a life, however busy, is still a life, and far better than boredom and monotony.

Winter quarter was brutal – dark and cold and bitter, with a double whammy of Stats and Finance, plus a blizzard for good measure. This quarter – Stats 2 and “Strategic Process,” which is essentially applied statistics – was rough, too, with math coming at me from both sides.

But now I’m surfacing, inhaling the fresh air, waking up before the alarm to sneak in a run or – gasp – read for leisure. Monday night I went to an ill-fated Iron & Wine concert at Millennium Park (far too crowded – I couldn’t hear the music over the chatter of the crowds). Last night, I pedaled to Gail Borden for a bag full of books of my choosing, then biked farther down the Fox River Trail, towards South Elgin, disappearing into the quiet and peace where you forget you’re in a town of 108,000. Tonight, I had dinner and fantastic conversation with friends, and came home to devour a book.

And the cooking? Oh, the cooking. It’s fabulous. Dancing and singing in the kitchen, playing with eggplant, chard, papaya, fennel, cubanelle peppers… and I get my very first CSA share tomorrow.

Sure, there are real catch-up projects I need to tackle. I really need to do some heavy-duty cleaning, and I hope to get a good handle on the bathroom project before classes start again.

I’m really enjoying catching up on life, though.

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