Handling My Workload

I don't live a slothful life. I work a great deal and get a lot done. However, I am depressed about my inability to get things accomplished. I realize that I'm being lapped in life's rat race. In addition, I know that I am at a crossroads. I either embrace Buddhism and chill my tangha (desires) or go in the opposite direction-full-speed ahead.

This is my problem. I'm teaching at three different colleges waiting for a fulltime position to open. Adjunct professors like me occupy the bottom of the academic feeding chain. The combined salary of my three teaching positions equals what I could be paid at one of them as a fulltime professor. Essentially, I'm working at three fulltime jobs and doing two for free.

Realizing that I might have to wait some indeterminate amount of time before I get a fulltime position, I need to supplement my income. I am therefore converting my web site so that I can sell stock photos over the Internet. The conversion process is time-consuming. I don't know how long it will take before it's operational. Therefore, I have decided to do freelance writing for magazines. I have written a column for a newspaper for over a dozen years and was paid such small checks that I didn't always cash them for weeks. I need to start submitting my essays on a regular basis to magazines if I want larger paychecks.

One can easily see burnout potential on the horizon. In addition, I am an adventurer. The more dangerous or god-forsaken the destinations are, the better I like it. Now, my wife isn't an adventurer; she is a tourist. That's a rub. We compromise on this. One trip is an adventure and the next one is more a touristy destination. This coming Christmas, we are going to combine our two styles of travel into one single trip. We will visit South Africa where my daughter is volunteering at an orphanage and then go to Egypt as my wife's touristy part. For my part and desire for adventure, we will be seeing the sites of Mali ending up at Timbuktu-that surely qualifies for god-forsaken.

Courtesy geo.at/.../Afrika/ mali/timbuktu_moschee1.jpg

While I am psyched for this trip, imagine the time that this is taking to coordinate. With limited time and recourses, where do we go and what should we see? One could spend months or even years in any of these destinations, and we only have a month to devote to them all.

I feel like Sisyphus attempting to climb the mountain with an ever-increasing rock upon my shoulders. Then I had an epiphany while driving to one of the schools. The roundtrip commute is usually about three hours and with road construction and other delays; it could reach a lot longer. That is a long time to waste sitting in a car. Therefore, I started to listen to audio books on my daily commute to dispense my pearls of wisdom to my eager learners. You can only imagine all the books to which I have listened in the 30,000miles/year that I put on my little blue Jetta.

I had recently picked up, Explore: Stories of Survival from off the Map. I liked it because most of the stories were adventure tales filled with danger and derring-do. The book chronicled adventure and survival from the Artic to the Amazonian jungle. Needless to say, my wife wasn't keen about the wanderlust in my eyes as I came home at night after vicariously living through the lives of real adventurers.

However, one essay was a story of survival or rather an attempt at survival. It was the journal of the American writer, Harold Brodkey, relating his journey into death due to AIDS. He wrote in From This Wild Darkness about reaching his 65th birthday and how he knew that death would soon overtake him. Listening to his words had a profound effect upon me. His struggle with illness empowered me. I am healthy, happily married, love teaching, and have more dreams to accomplish than one could fit into ten lifetimes. Instead of complaining about my life, I resolved to live it with more dedication and less depression. A part of my problem is real-I am doing several fulltime jobs, but a part of my lack of accomplishment is that I have wasted time complaining to others and myself about my limited time. Duh, Campbell. Quit complaining, organize, get to work, and shut up already.