I was an academic for the last 5 years and I find that since I left it I miss it. I don’t miss the deadlines and the endless reading and writing. What I miss instead is the challenge.
I miss someone (or several someones) pushing me to greatness. Sure I had to read a lot of books that were pure crap but some of those books were great. Some of them (even the crap ones) led me to think. They kept me on my toes and pushed me to think even more.
I find myself hanging back on the sidelines these days and miss being immersed in theology and the Bible and the dripping disdain of people who thought differently than I. I miss being so focused on a particular Scripture, idea or concept that I could spell it out in many different ways and have people listening to what I had to say because it might be different than what they could comprehend.
I miss not the attention but the ability to freely and frequently share my ideas and listen to others to hopefully come to an agreeable new idea or a fresh way to look at something.
I miss arguing with people. I miss being immersed in something and pushing myself to greatness.
I miss academia, especially now when I have hours to myself and I wonder how to fill it. I miss it all and I find myself waiting with baited breath for someone to ask me a question where I might be able to share some of the wisdom I have gained.
Just last week someone came up to me and asked me how to help their friend get out of an abusive relationship and I have to say that those few minutes where I got to share my knowledge were some of my happiest in the last few months.
I cannot wait to do this work and I am getting antsy waiting for something to happen.
I awake every day and think, “Is it worth getting up today?” I look at the clock and usually see that it is some time after 8am and I usually tell myself, “If you get up now what are you going to do the rest of the day?” My day is filled with TV and reading and searching online for jobs. I usually apply for as many as I can and then spend the rest of my day watching TV and reading. I feel such a waste. Not that I am wasting time or wasting whatever but that my presence is a waste.
My therapist, in Pasadena, before I left told me that it was okay for me to take up space and everyday I try to remind myself of this fact. It’s okay for me to take up space and I try to tell myself that I am not a waste but there are moments where it feels that way.
When I was immersed in classes and classwork my focus was on learning and getting as much knowledge as possible to do the best job I could when I left and now that I am out I cannot wait to use that knowledge.