Monday, February 2, 2015

Redeeming the time

I don't know how I feel about deviation from routine. Despite running on four hour's sleep, I was excited to brave the messy roads with my dad this morning. There's something exciting about being outside when everyone else is inside. It's the only thing I like about being up early. I was not excited, however, waiting on the chilly platform for my train to pull in. And I was not excited trudging the four blocks to my flat with snow in my eyes. I was not excited as I surveyed my already tidy room and wondered what on earth I was going to do today. Snow days, man.

Why do we do what we do? Maybe because we enjoy it, but not everyone is so lucky. I enjoy my work, but more in a this-is-a-pleasant-way-to-spend-my-days kind of way. Few are the tasks that are a motivation unto themselves. We do what we do, I think, because of the prize promised at the end, because of the transcendent worthiness of it. My work is meaningful to me, and that matters more to me than the thrill of diagramming sentences. The mechanics are not glamorous. The ideas that inspire the mechanics are. 

The announcers said of Julian Edelman last night how much they respect him as a player not just because he gets open, makes the catches, works the openings. They said he shows up at 5am and studies the plays and catches balls and works hard. Something about that stray comment clicked for me. Edelman is a superstar, for sure. But it sounds like he's respected more for his hustle than for his talent. 

Hustling isn't exciting. I'm watching all of these people head to work in the snow. I'm congratulating myself for being a commuter at large when both my work and school are canceled, but here are these people, headed to work with no fanfare. Business as usual. Braving the elements doesn't make you a hero. You're just going to work, like you're supposed to. 

And now this deviation from routine. I don't know how to feel about these deviations because I never know what to do with them. I'm terrible at redeeming unexpected downtime. But I'm alive, I'm awake. The snow has separated me from my casebooks and the papers I need to grade, but surely there's other work to be done. I'm rested, and it's time to work, like I'm supposed to.


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