It wasn't really intentional. But sometime around the beginning of the new year, I started drastically tapering the number of classes I was taking and teaching. I used to take/teach an average of 20 classes a month while working full-time. I took all kinds of classes on all sorts of subjects: stained glass, metalsmithing, beadwork, wirework, quilting, sewing, glass fusing, polymer clay, weaving, basketry, knitting, crochet, cooking, dance, yoga, drumming, writing, and on, and on. I love to learn. I love all the classes so it wasn't really "burn out" that stopped me. The catalyst was some pain I'd started experiencing in my hands that later resolved (repetitive stain issues is my best guess). To rest my hands, I stopped teaching viking knit, chainmaille and basketry classes and I cut back on classes that I was taking too. My last class was on Valentine's Day. It's been nearly 6 months without classes (except for a writing meetup group which really wasn't a class). It is liberating to completely change something in your life, about face. One thing you can say about me is that I can start, stop and change elements in my life very drastically with apparent ease. As my friend George once said, I'm best described as "variable." I just decide to change and I make it happen.
With the class sabbatical, it was remarkable to learn how much time I had for myself. I then focused my energy on reading as an alternative past time. And laying out in the pool. And playing the new MMORPG, Rift. I've been having a blast!
And then....this weekend I enrolled in my first class since my class sabbatical. I'm taking a programming class, Ruby on Rails. I'm not sure what triggered my desire to take this class. It's not something I planned or need, more an impulsive response to an email I received on some class offerings. Will it take me twisting and turning in another entirely new direction? Perhaps. Only time will tell.
But I plan to keep reading my Kindle through doubled Ziploc bags as I float in the pool and my iPad in the dark at night in bed, and to keep listening to audio books during my commute to/from work and while taking my 3 mile walks, and to keep viking knitting and weaving chainmaille while I watch movies on TV, and writing on my laptop on Saturday and Sunday mornings while Jason sleeps in, and to keep gaming on Friday and Saturday nights into the wee hours of the morning with Jason and my mom. I'm finding time in my life for the things that I love, with the people I love, in doses that are balanced.
Is there room for learning? Yes. That's why I'm adding classes back into my regimen. I love to learn. Maybe next on my list will be to learn a foreign language so I can converse in Italian with my good friend, James, instead of always talking to him via Google Translate to get his attention. I would love being multilingual.
I am also going to try out a kickboxing class and see how I like punching a bag. Having never been allowed to be aggressive as a child, it will be quite an experience for me, I think. I have a feeling I might like it! Rage!!! lol
So my class sabbatical is coming to a close.
My reading and writing will continue though, no sabbatical for those two, not ever again. I cannot believe I left them for as long as I did. Thinking of writing, even writing about writing, it makes me feel good, whole, alive. Reading is helping me learn what I want to write about, what messages I want to send, and what is important to me in terms of genre, character development, plot, dialogue, voice, writing style and story telling. I still keep looking for that ultimate writing class/workshop where I can awaken my inner story teller. Until then, I'll keep plugging away with writing exercises and research, and reading, and blogging and an occasion paragraph or two on my novel or short story.