Tomorrow, before dawn, I start driving to Indiana to teach one more semester at lovely little DePauw University, where I've taught on and off now for the past five years (2011-12, 2012-13, Spring 2015, and now Spring 2016). I love it there so much, but it's always wrenching to tear myself away from my happy life in Colorado for months at a time, and then tear myself from my happy life in Indiana when it's time to return home.
But this time I'm leaving with even more heartache than usual. This time it's harder to leave home, as now I have a beloved little almost-two-year-old granddaughter, and the two of us are desperately attached to each other. And this time Indiana feels a bit more daunting than usual. In the past I went as the Robert and Carolyn Distinguished Visiting Professor of Ethics, a position that had a generous salary and light teaching load so the the visitor could immerse herself fully in the intellectual and creative life of the university. But after five full semesters of being a pampered visitor, it's time for someone else to have a turn; the whole point of a visiting professorship is to bring visitors to campus. So this time I'm a lowly adjunct, paid per course, teaching three courses, two of which I've never taught before, and teaching five days a week, which I've never done before in my academic career. Will I even have time to attend all the fascinating lectures and enthralling concerts that are the reason I've so loved my time at DePauw?
Heartsick or not, I'm leaving tomorrow. So this is the only resolution I'm making this year:
I'm going to love every minute of my time at DePauw as fiercely and fully as I can. And when I come back to Colorado come May, I'm going to love every minute of my time here in the same way.
That's it. I'm just going to love my life, wherever I'm living it.
I'm going to have fun in the car tomorrow. I have a David Sedaris collection of comic essays to listen to, and NPR on the radio, and I just bought a little Blue Tooth thing so that I can talk on my cellphone, hands free. So I can catch up with old and dear friends as the miles roll past. I drive on 36, not I-70, along the northern edge of Kansas, where the highway is just one lane in each direction, and the small towns of American's Heartland are fifty miles apart. I'll stop for lunch at some local eatery, ditto for dinner. I'll stop for the night when I'm tired of driving. The weather looks good for the entire thousand-plus-mile journey.
My only task for the next two days: drive, and love the driving.