- I'm now knee-deep in another academic year and realize I'll soon be up to my neck in papers and the other usual obligations.
- I'm frustrated that I don't know what my life will look like in a year. I'm discouraged by how competitive the academic job market is.
- I'm feeling inspired to begin some new research, but I don't have time because of all the course prep I'm doing this quarter and because of the endless stream of job applications. I need to find the time.
- I'm stressed about finances. We live comfortably, but it's very much month-to-month, with no planning for the future. And old dog + ongoing dental needs = major debt.
I enjoy the creative, flexible aspects of academic life. I love that I have just about complete freedom to design my own courses. I love that on most days I can join Lucas for a nap at 3 p.m. to make up for my staying up late working the night before. But:
- Often I want to strike out and try something adventurous (by mild-mannered trillwing's definition, of course) and new. Lately I've taken to reading blogs and listening to podcasts by really bright, creative entrepreneurs--some of whom are WAHMs--and wonder if I couldn't join them in their quest to create fulfilling, meaningful work.* (Seriously. I'm looking for fulfillment, not great wealth.) I think I'd enjoy, for example, creating an online content network that was a useful resource for folks in the museum, public history, and other cultural interpretation fields--a series of blogs, podcasts, videocasts, a forum, a wiki, a print magazine or ezine, etc., with revenue coming in from advertising and subscriptions. I think I have--or could easily develop--the technical savvy (thank goodness I took that digital video art course several years ago and learned me some Final Cut Pro). I'm also optimistic about finding interested people to help. As I've said before, I've been following Chris Brogan's efforts to create his content network. I've been too busy lately to post much to my little museum musings blog, but if I could devote myself full-time to such efforts, I think I could be pretty happy. It's the making-enough-money-to-support-my-family part that's questionable.
- I could, of course, launch the effort above if I began to phone in my teaching. But I can't do that because I'm not a phone-it-in type. I care too much about my students.
- Mr. Trillwing would benefit from a career change as well, but his current gig creating newspapers, newspaper websites, and the occasional freelance website lets him work from home and we both really value that. Plus he enjoys calling himself a "newspaperman." If we had a financial safety net, I could say "Fireplace it all!" and let him devote himself full-time to writing and fatherhood.
I wish I could provide my friends and family with a giant warehouse and field. We'd divvy up the space and go crazy with the creating.
- For my sister, space to build a world-class fitness studio (with a built-in clientele of academics who need a nudge.
- For my TA/friend, a workshop filled with top-notch woodworking tools.
- For Mr. Trillwing, a quiet, roomy office with lots of shelves for his books and multimedia.
- For Phantom, lots room to construct a playground where even the smallest kids can play safely. I'd also provide her with an on-call nanny so she could sneak off to her room-of-her-own and write.
- For ArticulateDad, space to set up his own publishing company specializing in children's books and academic imprints, as well as a lab for the work he does with the mind.
- For Heather, a big fat pile of cash so that she could write half-time and spend the rest of her days cycling around her perfect city.
- For Jeff, a photography studio and gallery, and lots of non-irritating people to populate his very own camera club.
- For The Queen of West Procrastination, a costume shop loaded with crafty goodness.
- For Breena Ronan, a space where she could be both a landscape architect and an academic who writes brilliant things about gaming, feminism, sci-fi, and informal learning.
- For other friends, a fertility clinic whose methods actually work.
- For Susan M., who should be blogging but doesn't, a space to found a nonprofit that addresses girls' education in developing countries. And while you're at it, Sue, would you kindly solve this problem of violence against girls on our home turf?
What about you? What's your dream today?
*Of course, teaching can be ridiculously meaningful. But grading papers: not so much with the fulfillment.