Ah, Marcus, my sage friend… you’re exactly right. Letting go of the idea that I’ve got to be working toward *something* needs to precede the rest and rejuvenation for the rest and rejuvenation actually to work. That letting-go is hard, though, and I find (based on conversations with various colleagues and other pals) that it can be particularly hard for youngish-but-no-longer-junior academics, especially in the moments following tenure: we’ve just gotten past a series of intense hurdles (coursework, exams, dissertation, job market, contract renewal review, tenure review), each of which required particular kinds of focused work and an overall sense of forward movement; having gotten past the last of the hurdles, it’s hard to realize that such focus and forward movement are no longer, strictly speaking, necessary. There are no more necessary hurdles — so the momentum can let up.
So yes: accumulation of scraps of real desire. I like that.
That connects, I think, to Francois’s notion of thinking through the not-worth-sharing…
So I’m off to curl up with my novel again. And feeling better about it already.