Tuesday, April 26, 2016


For us academics, late April signals the end of a semester. There's busyness around exams and papers and grading. This Spring I have 160 pharmacy students on 2 campuses in a required class. It's all good, and they're an energetic bunch, and I'll miss them. This Spring I also have a doctoral student who will graduate, her dissertation a rigorous meditation on how where you live determines what medications you get to treat mental illness--and how geography and treatment combine to determine one's probability of hospitalization.

For these students, this Spring signals an end. And a new beginning. Just not with me.

Which saddens me because lately, as I grow older, it seems I stand still while the rest of the world streams by. The world is their oyster; for me, it's already eaten and digested.

I know I should welcome this time of relative stillness. I can write (and I am). I can meditate (and I'm not). I can spend time doing nothing, which we all know confers tremendous health benefits (and I'll try). But still... I have a growing hankering for more. But more what?

When younger, I'd satisfy my itch with travel. Now, travel is a lot of work, although once at my destination, I usually appreciate the views, the people, the food, my single room with control of the remote. Or new experiences, like zip lining or karate or learning how to piece together a handbag (and use the sewing machine). I have been cooking lots of new recipes, inspired by my daughter's vegetarianism.

But I sense a need for change. The last time I felt this yearning, about ten years ago, I woke up one morning and started writing. The words flowed from me like lava, hot and uncontrollable and vivid. And unexpected. So whatever comes next, I will be listening, waiting.

Of course, maybe this perceived need for change will be solved with a new pet or a new pair of sandals. And I know, from experience, that wishing for change sometimes brings about change you don't want. So for now, I will quietly gather my energy, enjoy the peace, and wait for the Next Big Thing to announce itself.