T’was The Day Before Christmas Break

I had an online event yesterday, a surprisingly well-attended one. It’s for students starting in January to get to know college services and spaces. Two tour groups came through in person and joked it doesn’t feel like we came back this fall but much longer. Meanwhile, I write. I have a blog post in the pipeline, but a Christmas miracle happened:

I am reading a book.

It’s Wayward, the sequel to Wanderers by Chuch Wendig. I profiled the first book in 2019 July 2019, to be exact. It was a book about a tyrannical president, an AI, and a worldwide pandemic killing millions. For Wendig, the novel was his way to process 2016. He had no idea COVID would happen or January 6, but 2016 tapped into anxiety, shaping every character during the chaos as the sleepwalkers walked cross country, their loved ones followed as shepherds. Forces collide from White Mask (the virus) to white nationalism for over 900 pages. The sequel clocks in at nearly a thousand, but I am reading.

I know audiobooks are reading. Unfortunately, I have not gone to the gym besides my training sessions, and Geneva, the audiobook written by Richard Armitage, remains in its early stages. Reading a book, even an eBook, means my brain continues to come back online.

Christmas break feels different this year, unlike last year. We went back to campus in a limited capacity and the constant changes in hours, covid protocols, made people prickly. This year, it feels like I worked on campus for years not returned to full-time services the last week of August of this year. I have no idea what the future holds, but I know students are happy to come back in person. I also know work is work. I can be laid off at any time despite things looking stable. Saying it out loud, even writing it down, takes the fear out of my head. It frees me to do my job and separates itself from my identity. Whatever happens, happens.

As for Christmas itself, a tinge of sadness remains and will follow the holidays for the rest of my life. I learn to carry sadness while still having joy, laughing with friends, and hearing the hymns promising a saviour who will turn refugee later in the story. It’s a paradox, I know, but it gets me to move on.

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