I don’t know when I became one of them. It seems that I was pretty busy in my early teaching days, and starting a family. I didn’t feel, however, that every single minute was programmed down to the second. I had time for writing, vacation, and family, as well as work. The other day when I was sending out those reminders to authors that their books are a bit (years) overdue, I realized just how busy they are. Then I took a moment and considered that I’m not sure how I became one of them. The people who are too busy. Clearly buying a house was a big part of it. I’d been pretty busy before, but now I need to invent time in order to get everything done. The staycations I allow myself end up with feelings of guilt for all that’s been left undone.
Maybe it doesn’t help that I can see the neighbors out my office window. When I see one of them weed-whacking or mowing during the day, I think I need to do the same. But I’m also out of string for the whacker. I really need to get to Lowes so I can stock up—last time they had only one spool left, which is probably why I ran out. To get to Lowes I need a weekend. Preferably not one with temperatures in the high nineties. And without meetings cutting into weekend time. And when it’s not raining. Time is slippery. Even as I work I often have other things—many other things—I have to do running through the back of my mind. How did I become so busy?
Speaking only for myself, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing than reading and writing. I do these daily only by carving out inviolable time for them. It is costly time, I know, but to me it’s beyond price. Thinking of these colleagues too busy to submit their books, I think back to my own professor days. There’s no doubt that I read and write more now than I did then. There were times (grading, accrediting body visits, commencement, etc.) when there simply wasn’t time to do anything else. Many colleagues mention health issues on top of all this. Academics, as those who supply (partially, but responsible for a goodly number of) books, the number published each year truly boggles the mind. I would try to figure all this out, but I’m afraid I simply don’t have the time.