Sunday Selection 2021-09-05
Summer is drawing to a close in this part of the world, temperatures are starting to dip, and we managed to escape the worst of both Henri and Ida (though the ground is now thoroughly saturated with water). Meanwhile, the Delta variant continues to rage, though not as much as in some other parts of the country. Still, with college students coming back and schools reopening, numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better. That being said, I’m glad to be living and working in one of the most vaccinated communities in the country and am probably going to start going back to the office, at least for a few days per week. A large part of the reason I like being an academic is being surrounded by excellent colleagues and collaborators. It’s something I’ve sorely missed over the past year and half, and it will be good to be in that environment again.
The last year has probably left all of us tired and on edge, especially if you’re living in the US. And while there’s still a lot going on (and probably always will be), it’s not possible to be working all day every day, even on important issues, without burning out. Like many things in life, being able to rest and recover is a skill that we have to learn and practice.
For me, one of the side-effects of being home all the time is that it’s very easy for me to get stuck inside my own head. This past year has made me realize just how much I depended on being around other people to not get lost in my own thoughts (though writing for an unseen audience does help with that somewhat). Though I’m not a fan of this article’s click-bait-y title, the points themselves make sense, and some of them are things I’ve been trying to do on my own.
Talking about being home alone, I’ve been working my way through Olivia Lang’s excellent book that talks about both her experiences of living alone in New York City, interspersed with detailed histories and observations about how various people and movements in the city’s past have dealt with being alone. Lang is a brilliant writer who manages to weave together personal anecdotes, biographies and social history into a diverse, coherent whole. It’s a highly recommended read even for people who don’t find themselves in lonely cities.