While this blog has been defunct for all intents and purposes for a while now, I think it’s time to officially bring it to an end.
This was an invaluable space for me for a very long time, and I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am for all the wonderful fascinating friends I’ve made through writing here (too many to even begin to try to name you all). Many of you I’ve never met in “real” life, yet I treasure the connections that we’ve developed over the ether. Those of you whom I have met in person, I’ve been consistently amazed at how comfortable and effortless it was to transition from reading words on a page to speaking face to face.
But as the frequency of posts here recently has shown, this space no longer fits easily into my life. Some of that change results from changes in the internet itself. As many people have been pointing out for a while now, in those heady pre-Facebook pre-Twitter pre-Instagram days blogging played a different role in people’s lives than it does now. There was more long-form writing, and many more vigorous debates in the comments sections. To some extent, those debates and discussions have transferred to Facebook, but the Facebook vibe is different from that seen in academic blogs (or at least, blogs by academics) in the first 5 years or so of this blog.
I particularly value the support I found here throughout my long drawn-out process of leaving academia. But it’s also true that leaving academia made this space, and the identity that I created here, less relevant than when I was still a professor.
Perhaps the biggest change is that I have become determined to create boundaries between my work and my life in a way that really didn’t make sense – and wasn’t possible – when I was an academic. The work-life divide came up a lot among the new profs I met through this blog, but I always secretly sort of felt proud of doing a job that meant so much to me, it couldn’t be separated from my personal identity. It was academia. I studied things I loved, things I considered vitally important, and I wrote down what I thought about them to share with other people. How could that not be integral to my very sense of self?
I don’t really feel that way any more. I like being a lawyer (and there are many things that disturb me about higher education these days), and I’m too over-educated, obsessive, and tightly wound not to value my work identity and base a big chunk of my self-worth on it. But it’s work. I do it for pay. I use my brain in service of something that is not me (the government), and to a large extent, my work is in response to other people’s choices, not my own. I’m a cog in a way that professors, standing at the front of the room (or sitting among their students) imparting wisdom (or facilitating student wisdom) and coming up with original thoughts aren’t, and I’m actually really happy with that. It’s important to me that my work is meaningful (and I believe it is, although I think many of my academic friends might see me as having gone over to the dark side, or at least a dark side). But since starting to practice, it’s become more and more important to me to create a sense of self that has nothing to do with what I do for a living.
I can’t claim that I’ve figured out exactly how to do that yet, but what I have figured out doesn’t seem to fit into this space any more.
I’ve started another blog. If you’d like to follow me over there, I would be thrilled to see you.
I do have to warn you, though, that it’s very different from this one, and probably a lot more mundane. It turns out that right now, for me, developing a sense of self independent of my employment has turned into an obsession with
Yup. Kind of going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I realize.
But I knit all the time now. It’s become my non-work thing. And I find myself wanting to talk about it, a lot.
So I’ve set up a new space, and while I’d love to see you there, I have to let you know that there will be a lot of talk about knitting. And not-very-good pictures of knitting. Along with not-very-good pictures of life in the desert, because that’s the other thing that non-work me focuses on these days: what it’s like to live where I live, and how to make it a place I want to be.
So if you’re curious, feel free to stop by. Don’t feel obligated to stick around at all if it’s not your thing.
Either way, just know how much I truly, deeply appreciate your part in the journey that’s ending here.