Or at least that is what I am calling this. I love this time of year, but it is always hard on me. The shorter days and the cooler weather are, perhaps, a bad mix for a brooding personality.
I have also been having a recurring dream that is getting on my nerves. I really believe myself to be incredibly fortunate. I have good health, a good marriage and friends and family who love me. SOF and I live a relatively simple life and are able to afford the things we really enjoy.
But my recurring dream is always about not making it as an academic. Yes, I teach college every semester, and I mold young minds (hah), but I do so as one of the migrant workers of higher ed. As an adjunct, I teach contract by contract, semester by semester. I am scheduled for next semester, but nothing has been signed, for example. Higher ed isn't what we imagine. It is more about revenue than teaching, and that makes it hard on those who teach. And even harder on those who teach as adjuncts.
Part of the difficulty is relating to tenured faculty. My friend M refers to academia as a cult, and notes that when those in the cult look at those outside the cult with a puzzled face--why are you not inside with us? Can't tell you how many times I have experienced that. People who landed a job right out of grad school look at people like me, and probably think there is something wrong with me. I can't be that good or else I would have landed as they did. I also have more than one friend inside who is painfully aware of the capricious nature of academic jobs. But even some of those lose that awareness the longer they are inside. They become consumed with the stuff that people talk about--committees, tenure, grad students, the bad administration, etc. And they talk about those things as if they are givens.
But those of us outside the cult wonder. Maybe it is because, ultimately, I wasn't good enough. I don't know. And maybe that is the recurring dream--the fear that ultimately, I wasn't good enough to make it.
I am going to call a therapist tomorrow and see what we can do with this.