Downshifting (or the sense of a life)

stick shiftThere’s this intermediate state between the end of a quarter and a real sense of being “on break” that is always tricky for me to navigate.  Part of that difficulty comes from times where I go (almost) straight from the classroom to the airport for a school trip or a trip to see family and friends in Tennessee.  The difficulty often manifests in three-day weekends for me, too.  And that’s because daily life without school feels very different than daily life with school.  The whole sense of life is different because time itself works at a different pace.

So I’ve learned to at least try and navigate that intermediary state better.  At lease I know that it exists.  Quite honestly, I’d like to try to minimize the transition time so I can feel  little more “normal” with the day-to-day.

This idea of “downshifting” is taking on a new layer in light of societal response to Covid-19.  I ventured out a couple of times today via the bus to have as close to a normal Saturday as possible (because who knows when I’ll get one again, right?).  Things were a little quieter in most places (the udon shop I dropped in for take-out was almost completely empty, which was sobering).  I decided against a movie (mostly because there wasn’t anything with a big enough draw for me . . . I caught Onward last week).  And so I went to the gym, grabbed some coffee, got some good reading done.  Then I went home and cleaned the bathroom and organized the cupboard to handle some of my supplies for the next few weeks.  I even got a nice, early-evening walk in before catching up on this week’s episode of The Flash.

It’s nice to regain a sense of a life.  It can be hard to have or feel when you’re in the middle of the school year (and definitely at the end of a quarter or semester).  I get a better sense of a life when I’m home with the folks or visiting my neighbors.  But then I also have to find that sense on my own, when those doors aren’t open and the opportunities don’t present themselves.  It’s a good rhythm to find, obviously elusive, and one that reminds you of a whole other world lived at a different pace.  I’m hopeful that I’ll handle it well this time, no matter how long or short it lasts.

(image from

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