A Treatise on Exhalation

I’ve been neglectful, really. Not the kind of regret that sits on a windowsill and judges, but rather the kind that pops up out of nowhere and reminds me that I’m a human being, that I’m connected to a larger universe of humanity (a horde, really) that exists in and for itself. It’s both outside of me, and a part of me in ways I can’t always quite fathom the way I probably should.

Being “in-semester” does that to me.

For days on end, in-semester, the world shrinks down for me into seven classes, some on the Tuesday/Thursday cycle, and others revolving around Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Each one is its personal microcosm of energy (and the lack thereof, depending on what part of the semester we’re in). When I’m with that group they are the whole world. I engage, I am engaged, and I exhale when I have to move on from them. That’s my life.

But now I’m doing a different kind of exhale. You see, yesterday was graduation, and I said goodbye to quite a few students who shuffled in and out of my classes over the past few semesters, who were a significant part of my own journey. I only hope their experiences were as memorable as mine. I only hope they move on to the next portion of their individual journeys ready to take on the world (or worlds, if you’ve been paying attention).

So here I am, the day after. All my grades are submitted. All my committee are wrapped. I have a small amount of time from now until the summer session starts, and I can exhale. Again. The cycle is comforting, in its own way, because in the repetition I find a kind of peace that can be hard to locate otherwise. I can sit here remembering all the hours I’ve spent in this very room, on this very computer, writing up a storm. It all seems so long ago.

I’ve been neglectful, really. But no longer. Beginning today, I am devoting myself to once again breathing, to not waiting for a chance to exhale. To creating that chance as often as is feasible in the midst of chaos, in-semester and out. I owe it to myself, and not just in November.

I’m back, baby.

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