The cyclical rhythms of academic life have a reassuring predictability, even though when I'm in the midst of them I sometimes lose sight of it -- it might feel like the crappiest week ever until you realise it's just the 9th week of the fall term. Semesters begin, muddle, and end. There are at least three new fresh starts in every year, for which I am ever grateful.
And I've now been doing this long enough to begin to perceive the longer cycles as well. I've been here at Large Urban U for 10 years -- long enough to have been through two up cycles and two downturns in department morale (apparently 2.5 years is about the span of such cycles). The key cycles in my own career from the university's standpoint have each been approximately 3 years: 3 years as a new assistant, 3 years of getting ready for and going through tenure review, and then 3-4 years of administrative service.
And now, a turn. Another transition, another fresh start. Out of administration and down the hall to a new office -- one with a door I can close. Away from the noise and the politics of the front office suite. And even more promising: a semester of research leave.
Other turns and transitions in the first half of 2008 also have kept me away and now brought me back to this space: the loss of The Boss, our canine pack leader, to liver cancer; Elderly Parent's increasing cognitive deficits and health issues; and turning 40.
I started blogging 4 years ago, about a month after the last sequence of huge life transitions. Clearly it's time to return.