I’VE BEEN busy. No, I mean really busy.
At the start of the year, I began a postgraduate diploma. I figured I’ll be working for another 25 years so it’d be a good investment, give me that extra edge.
I knew it’d be hard, especially returning to academia after 20 years. But the Duchess told me: ‘It’ll only be nine months’.
Well, it is hard. Very, very hard. On Monday, I had to hand in two 2,500-word essays. I had just under a month to prepare and I must have researched a dozen books and another dozen journal articles for each topic. Made notes, ordered them, got my head round Harvard referencing.
I barely relaxed for the duration, didn’t watch TV once, studied most nights until midnight. And on the bus, the train, wherever possible. Despite all of this studious study I didn’t finish them until 3am on Monday morning. I’ve spent the time since convincing myself they’re crap, I’ll fail and so on.
I’m now preparing a 5,000-word planning assignment, due in July, and a 6,000-word project due in October. I’ll have to study hard throughout the period of the World Cup, not to mention most of the summer.
There is, of course, also the day job. Two lively, expectant children. Training for the Leeds half marathon and other duties like being a school governor.
Although this year is extraordinarily busy due to the diploma, I do wonder what it is about middle age, being a proper grown up, that causes such busyness?
I know lots of other people running sports teams for kids, training for Himalayan charity events, doing degrees before breakfast, having more than two children.
Ten years ago, most of us would have gone to work, come back, watched Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 news headlines, then eaten, drank, sat. We managed to waste hours watching TV, playing computer games, sitting in beer gardens. We were at the peak of our physical powers, unburdened by real work stress and we barely questioned watching trilogies with the curtains closed or two live footy games and an afternoon of six nations. Before going out properly.
Is it about being useful, as the hour glass turns the over way? Does busyness breed busyness? Do we all fear getting an ulcer if we dare to take our foot off the pedal?
Thing is, I haven’t really got time to think about it…