I said blogging would resume, but I haven't posted in weeks. It's not because I haven't been writing. It's just that so many of the words I've written have been sad and angry. And overall I have not been sad and angry. I am delighted with my new job, my wonderful students and my friendly, supportive colleagues. I still have yet to find my balance-point—the last few weeks have not been easy—but I am doing well.
No, the things that have filled the news I read are what creep into my writing: Ferguson, Ebola, war and conflict all over the globe, misogyny nearer to home. So I have written out thoughts and decided not to share them, not to add to the anger and sadness and frustration. I don't want to be yet another angry blogger. I want to contribute in a positive way.
One hard thing about my new job is the time my workday starts. I am not a morning person. At all. I don't get up early easily or happily. I am very good at staying up too late for a good night's sleep, and not so good about dragging myself out of bed the next morning.
My lecture is at 9 am. That would not be much of a struggle, were campus closer, but I drive 65 miles to work. To arrive on time and ready to teach, I get up by 6, which is even earlier than I got up back in high school. It's an incredibly simple thing, getting up early, but so hard for me. To cheer myself—and my students, who may be as grumpy early-risers as I—I start every lecture with a chipper "Good morning" and picture of a sleepy animal. It's silly, but it makes us smile.
We don't start with the serious stuff, the exam worries, the homework frustrations, the mistakes we have made. We start with a smile. A smile's a pretty good way to start the day, I think.