Something I thought about:

  • It was school vacation week, which meant a slightly disrupted schedule. The child wanted some unscheduled, unstructured time and was home while I worked but is old enough now to stay occupied and, in some ways, co-work with me — depending on what I had to do — I could absolutely enter GitHub issues and manage Kanban boards while the child built LEGO and we listened to music. It was actually kind of lovely. But the child is used to French academic schedules with 2 weeks off after every 6 weeks of school and is feeling pretty worn out with the American school schedule — fall semester is especially rough without October break — no break really until Thanksgiving. I could also really use some unstructured time. This is one of the challenges of leaving academia — work time is constrained, so I do have “time off” and am not expected to work 24/7, but evenings and weekends quickly fill up with household / family tasks, and all of my time ends up pretty scheduled.

Something I did:

  • Woke up an hour later every day
  • Stayed up too late (need to get back onto a better sleep schedule!)
  • Worked on a report, went to meetings, and other PMing
  • Caught up on a lot of reading
  • Watched She-Ra with my child
  • Spent a lovely afternoon at the library while my child participated in various activities there

Something I read:

  • Roman Stories by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Completely caught up on my slow reads (Wolf Hall, War & Peace, This Little Art, and The Preparation of the Novel)
  • Yanyi’s newsletter always comes at the right time. This one was about change of place and writing. Basically the subject of my dissertation from the writer’s perspective. I know all of this. It is also really helpful to read.
Things change. Times change. Your life changes—the city around you changes, or you change cities. Cities of trash and bodega flowers and cities of not looking at your neighbors in the eye to cities of endless little libraries; cities of rain-wise gardens and crows thick in the trees; cities of mind and spirit.
I had forgotten that when things change, it is not just the laundry list of new doctors and grocery stores; not just the literal laundry, or the meals that must be made, or the dog walks we must go on. Even when the furniture’s settled in the living room and dust again has ravaged once-new and now familiar corners, my insides spring from here to there. Wondering about where the writing desk went, the routine gone with it.
I had forgotten about this: that there’s a lag between when one is physically present and when one becomes spiritually present in a new life. It could be a physical city, but it could also be a spiritual city—the city in which you learned to touch grass again, the city in which you do not love that person, the city in which you become a mother, or the city in which you no longer have one.