The Gingerbread Campus


I am learning balance. When I first started my full-time career as a professor, I mourned Fridays and longed for Monday’s. All I wanted to do was work, which probably sounds like, well, work, but as my mom described “it’s play time for you.”

Never before had I felt the level of passion, autonomy and creativity that I have over the last three months. It’s like every date is a trip to the candy store. In fact I may as well be living in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Or working in a gingerbread house. But what happens if you eat too much candy? (Especially if the candy is consumed over a three-month binge.)

Well that is how I find myself learning balance. I understand the importance of balance. I teach about the importance of balance. But balance is difficult when your every day has turned into a brilliantly colourful candy shop, when my professional life has become the longest lasting gob stopper of all of Willy Wonka’s.

Why would I want balance when work is play?

It dawned on me scrolling through my Twitter feed, when I saw a tweet from a professional astutely stating what wasn’t yet obvious to me: you need balance even when you love what you’re doing.

So before work today, I traded in some books at a local bookstore and did some preliminary browsing for my next read. Last week, my friend and I got our nails done  after work with shellac.

Side note: I used to think shellac was a made up word, sort of like slang for painting your nails.

Because of balance, I’ve learned that shellac has as much lasting power as my tasty career gob stopper. The points of this is that I am carving in time for other types of play. Work is still play but much more sustainable play than if I continued the 24 seven academic rave party.

Balance also has me examining my eating habits. I’ve never enjoyed cooking. Cleaning – yes. Cooking – no. And I must say that I have dabbled in trying to improve my eating habits various times before, however my underlying motivation is different this time. In order to give my all to my career, I want to get in all the nutrients I can so that my career itself can remain the candy store that it is, but I won’t feel like my mouth is rotting of cavities. By carving out time for balance, like finding a new book to read, discovering the power of shellac and learning how to improve my diet, my career is helping me navigate all aspects of wellness in my life.


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