So I missed my Sunday night post for the first time in a quite some time. My apologies to those of you who look for that post on Sunday night or Monday morning. The fact is I was on the road to a funeral in Nevada. The thing is, the last 15 to 18 months are have been tough on all of us. It stacks up, COVID hits, work turned into a 70 hour a week marathon, you lose people to COVID. The pressure and stress get to everyone in one way or another. So in my job, I become the person who reaches out to the people I manage. Some were dealing, some were falling apart, so you get drained doing what you can for them. As a strong person, a person that many people come to when they are struggling, you get drained by being there for them. And after the last 15 to 18 months there has been a lot of that. I’ve been what they call languishing for some time. I’ve written about it here a bit.
This semester at the college has been, as predicted, the most difficult yet. We’ve seen an uptick in COVID case related quarantines and exposures, the faculty and staff have taken to laying a whole lot of blame on the deans, of which I’m one. The normal, half-joking “dark side” comments, have morphed into a full out regular assault at board meetings and anywhere else they can, to let everyone know how “evil” we are. There has been late and limited information that I need to do my job from above, my direct bosses are great, but above them, well, it’s been challenging.
I’m too far into my career, been doing this for too long, I’m worn out. Quite frankly, it’s time for me to find another gig. As a nomad I can tell you the Appalachian Trail is screaming my name right now, as is Antarctica, Scotland, New Zealand all of the places I’ve been or want to see are calling hard right now.
I’ve been blessed to have about three years of very little drama in my life, which has not been the norm in my existence. But the last year and a half has worn down my reserves and the last few weeks have felt like the universe decided to kick me while I’m down. I’ve fallen back into the well of depression for the first time in years. It’s at these times you find out important things about your world. As much as I’m their for so many people, you hope they’ll be there when you do need them. It’s partially my fault, when you take on so much on your own, people can forget that at times you need support as well. Times like this remind you of how alone you truly are in this life.
Now that’s all the bad news, there was definitely some good news in the last couple of weeks because there are some really good people in my life. Some of the people I manage bought me lunch for my birthday, a friend I grew up with and his wonderful family had dinner with me on my birthday. While in Las Vegas for the funeral, friends from New York had me to their house for dinner. That wasn’t the important part, it was the way I was greeted, both of them grabbed me and hugged me, they really and truly asked how I was doing, most importantly they meant it. We had a wonderful dinner and it was a great night. My brother and sister-in-law sent me a really amazing present, I got to Zoom with my littlest niece and nephews.
The other good news is that when I used to fall into this well, it was freefall and the walls of the well were smooth and black, there was no light, hitting the bottom hurt. Hitting the bottom hurt this time as well, the real difference though is the work I’ve done, mostly through writing the Ministry of Happiness. There’s a little light in the well today, and more importantly a ladder on the wall. For so long, when in the well I had no idea how to get out, that’s different now. I know the way out, this long weekend will give me the space to start that climb.
What I hope you take from this tonight is that since we all know these times will come, we have to understand how to be ready for them. We have to develop our own resiliency, whether that comes from building our own internal fortitude, or whether it comes from the careful building and nurturing of our support structures, even better doing both. Don’t wait until you’re in the well before you do the work, do the work now, and if you do that, you’ll sooner get back to happier days my friends. ~ Rev Kane