Over the summer, once school is out and my week of catching up on sleep is over, I get inspired. Last summer I decided it was finally time to remodel my house. The planning begin in August, we moved out in November (right before Thanksgiving), orchestrated a whole house remodel throughout the spring, and moved back in June, just one weekend after school ended. It was insane. I was also granted the Desmos Fellowship last year and flew to San Fransisco for an amazing long weekend in November. During my Desmos weekend, one week before we were set to move, the house we were going to rent fell through. So I spent part of my Desmos weekend in panic mode trying to help my husband pick out a new rental home.
Last year I didn’t tweet much, I blogged even less. I tried to start up #Alg2Chat in the fall, but could not maintain it. I merely survived, and barely at that. I love blogging, and I missed it dearly last year. But, I simply didn’t have the extra time to give, I didn’t have time for me.
I gave everything I had to my family and supporting my students, but I did not have much left. I felt terrible about losing so many of my connections last year, about failing. Thankfully, I was able to attend #TMC17 and reconnect with many of my close, albeit long lost, friends. I apologized to many of them for my lack of connection this year. “I’m sorry.” I said to all, “This has been a rough year for me. I don’t know why, but it just has.” It was when I said this to Tina Cardone that everything changed. She reminded me that the election happened this year, and that many of us have had a devastating year, and were having a tough time recovering. What Tina said rang true for me. Yes, I had been extra busy this year, but above that, this year was very rough for a singular reason. The election profoundly affected many of my close friends and students. I was busy being there for my upset friends and terrified students. I had a Muslim student who returned to Kuwait in December. I was obsessed with news stories and got into battles with family and “friends” on social media. I felt lost, I was confused. My heart was broken. I needed time to be there for my students and friends more than ever before. I needed time to recover.
So if YOU had a really rough time this year, consider all of the extenuating circumstances that we were barraged with this year that we have not ever had to deal with. Do not let anyone tell you are not good enough, or need to do better because you were too overwhelmed to keep up with some of the things you used to do and still love. Surround yourself with people who understand this. People who will TELL you this when you didn’t even realize it. This year many of us were in survival mode. Time has given much of my heart back, and I am more determined than ever to help people, and make a difference. But I needed that time to heal. And I am glad that I took it. And I’m glad you did too. Welcome back.