The start of a new academic year, the changing of seasons, a rarrangement of employment for family members, and so on—all of these herald the beginning of yet another season.
And yet again, it is the case that the coming season will be both the most important and the most intense and impossible ever in my life thus far.
All of this has a sort of “if-not-now-when-if-not-me-who” ring about it that might be satisfying if I was some sort of guru or practitioner, but as for me, just regular old me, living my life, I’d be more than happy to have a semester or two or even a few years of just the “comfortable grind.”
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I remember that when I first started grad school at the University of Chicago, I ran across a body of literature on “precarity” and wondered, after glancing through the top publications, whether the word meant what I thought it meant.
Being now a veteran of grad school about four inches shy of a Ph.D., I realize that the word meant exactly what I thought it did, and refers to exactly the state of being that I thought it might—the one in which I and most others are economically embedded.
The insane piles of theoretical language surrounding the term were just the typical academic way of saying something like, “Sucks to be po’, don’t it!?” and, in fact, the academic community’s own unique way of coping with their own precarity in today’s spiraling higher education landscape.
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But yes, I could do with less of it, all the way around, in every industry and context that I touch.
“Before enlightenment, I carried water. After enlightenment, I carried water.”
If only I could do that as well.
Yes, I realize that the previous statement marks me as “not enlightened.”
See, it sucks to be po’. That’s all.