#reverb14: a love story in transition
Though I didn't get to this in August, I still wanted to respond to the August #reverb14 prompt. Transition | Transition of seasons; from single to couple; from couple to parents; from one to many. It’s that time of year when the high summer sun starts to sink, and we all start to long for long sleeves. How is your life changing. How are YOU changing?
Wow, is this prompt ever timely. I'm two weeks teaching into the Fall semester and I can tell you that though it is still quite warm outside, Summer is definitely over. I wouldn't necessarily say Fall is here but the days of choosing what I work on and what I don't are pretty much over. I realize the benefits of the academic job, believe me. The amount of work that goes into semester planning and working on publications and all the very challenging aspects of what I do definitely feel worth it when the semester break arrives, summer especially. So while I recognize how different my life may be from those who work a 9-5 kind of job, believe me I'm sometimes jealous of the "leave the work at work" that I imagine is part of others' jobs (even if that idea is inaccurate).
Transitioning from no real schedule to a very hectic schedule is a tough transition for many reasons. I have to get my mind and body into a new routine. I have to figure out Office Hours, and when I'm going to work out. (I have to get out of this lazy slump). I have to adjust to students filling my inbox and phone with questions. But the hardest part is readjusting to being away from M. In the past, I've stayed just busy enough traveling and working on projects and workshops that I haven't spent huge chunks of time establishing a routine for us. But this year, M asked specifically if I would not make any plans in July so that we could spend some real time together. And we fell into an easy rhythm that happens when you've spent ten years of life with someone. After about 6 weeks together, I had to come back to Oxford for meetings before the semester and once again I am here and she is in Illinois.
I don't write much about the challenges of our long-distance relationship. Mostly because I think that we are making it work, and also because we are lucky in so many ways. Our distance is easily drivable. Neither of us are in constant danger, the way those stationed overseas or in other military careers often are. We are both committed to our relationship and we're able to make the most of the time we do spend together. In-between, we text and chat and Facetime. Still, it is a transition after each semester break to slide into our daily lives and routines without one another's physical presence, something I quickly get used to it and then it's gone again.
We're always growing and learning ways to stay connected, to be present in small ways. And I think we continue that work when we are together in the same place. I've said that loving M is the easiest thing I've ever done. It just happened. To quote the YA book The Fault in Our Stars, "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once." My entire world opened up because of her influence and I'm not going to let something like a few hundred miles ruin us. This long distance thing won't be the last transition we experience together, but I know, the way you know something is true because it reverberates in you and you're afraid to say it because you want to keep it sacred, that one day it will simply be part of our love story. I can't wait.