the Sunday of all Sundays

Tomorrow is the first day of the new semester. So today is a Sunday overloaded with more of the catching-up burdens than even my usual Sundays tend to be. But because I'm trying to be a saner person, and because I believe in rituals, my gf & I have already set a firm plan to go to a movie later on this afternoon. (We have fallen in to a terrible pattern of saying "we'll go to a movie in the evening" and then just doing work or watching a DVD at home.) I already know that I can't do everything today, so I might as well also do something fun.

My parents used to always take us out for ice cream cones (which was a very unusual treat in my childhood) the night before the first day of school -- it was sort of a combination event, meant to assuage our sadness about the end of vacation, to soothe our anxiety about the first day of school, and probably to celebrate the start of school on their part.

Thankfully, I don't feel that anxiety any longer, since starting the semester at the University doesn't involve skirmishes with bullies (or at least not of the physical kind of skirmish that used to scare me as a kid). And, frankly, although I would love to have more time, I'm not especially sad about the end of summer. I find the summer a real challenge for me -- both in organizing so much unstructured time and in setting realistic goals. The fantasy version of my summer never quite works out in reality. Once I can settle into the groove for the semester, I usually function a bit better.

I've drawn up a plan for my weekly schedule for the fall term -- the real test will be in the next two weeks. Can I commit to getting up early? can I fit in at least three 20-minute blocks of writing every day? (I know that sounds small but the 20-minute timed block has been working well for me as a first step towards incremental daily research productivity, rather than the exhausting writing binges I've done for years.) The beginning of the fall term always seems just as much of a New Year, and a time for resolutions, than January.

My resolutions, then:
  • take my vitamins every day
  • get up early and go to early morning yoga, even on teaching days
  • go to the gym at least two days per week
  • fulfill three 20-minute writing blocks every day
  • spread out my teaching prep so I don't have to stay up late the night before (I've been re-reading Boice's admonishments about applying the same principles that work for writing to teaching prep, and recognize that I have some bad habits)
  • commit to the weekly review
Now I'd better go finish up my syllabi . . .