I feel kind of weird grieving about the following. One of the bigger draws about moving back to Athens was the potential of reconnecting with my old TKD club. It’s just, a while ago, I arrived at a point in my life where I want to be the faucet rather than the bucket. I’d rather give to those coming after me as opposed to taking from those who came before me. I gained so much from the club, I wanted to make sure others could benefit from it just as I did. I don’t think that’s going to happen.
In my old TKD club, most of our drills were performed from a particular stance we called a front stance. It’s kind of like holding a lunge, only your back leg is perfectly straight & both feet are flat on the ground, pointing to the front. It may not sound particularly strenuous, but it can create a serious quadricep burn, especially after having a session of jumping rope or jumping jacks. I think that’s over now. There’s now a stabbing pain in my left ankle whenever I try to hold that stance. I did all my drills for years upon years from that position, and now as soon as I moved back to Athens, my left ankle expired. Funnily enough, it can do everything else I need it to do without difficulty, except hold that position.
I still enjoy where I live & what I do for the most part, just not fully in the way I anticipated. I love the lack of traffic on my morning & evening commutes. I love having my own office. I love not having to deal with the political crap that came with my previous job. Losing access to the TKD club feels like I’ve lost portion of Athens from me. I’m stuck using this tiny little gym that’s almost always crowded. I could pay for a membership to the Ramsey Center since I’m an alumni, but now I’d feel sort of ridiculous doing so. I’d also be surrounded by college students all the time, which isn’t an inherently bad thing, but one surprising drawback of being a teacher is how depressing it can be to be surrounded by those whose lives are mostly ahead of them. It makes me yearn for more, to do more, to be more. Now that I’ve lost the capacity to contribute to my old TKD club, I don’t have as much sentimentality holding me here.
Actually, I wonder if there might be some sort of divine design in my current bodily difficulties. Maybe it’s punishment for how I handled Erika. Maybe it’s protection from rejoining my old TKD club (in the current political & cultural schism, I don’t see how I could have meaningful friendships with those who are still volunteering in it). Maybe it’s just the fact that I wasn’t able to make this move happen until I officially aged into my late 30s. I’ve already written about my ankle. I pulled my calf muscle a week ago. I wasn’t doing anything dumb, just jumping rope for my work out warm up like I’ve done for just about every workout since 2005. I took a week off, my calf felt fine, so I tried jumping rope again at the gym yesterday only to pull the same muscle again. A few weeks prior, I gave myself a Baker’s Cyst doing body weight squats. It feels like the God is going to great strides to keep me housebound when I’m don’t have to be at work. Years ago, when I was in graduate school here, I briefly talked to a fellow who had recently moved back Athens after living in Atlanta for a couple of years. He said he thought moving to Atlanta would be great, but just about everything that could go wrong did while he was there. As soon as he moved back, his life cleared up and he genuinely believed because he was where he was supposed to be. I wonder if that’s why things are so frustrating for me now.
Maybe I’m just clinging to anything that’ll make sense in a situation where I can’t readily do so. I’m not saying I’m going to move back to Atlanta. I really don’t want to endure that traffic again. I just don’t know anymore. Am I supposed to be somewhere else? I ask only because I genuinely don’t sense that I’m supposed to be here?
I wonder if the following is what ignited my current mode of thinking. One of my students died a few weeks ago. His name was William, and he was very bright, but a bit on the obnoxious side. Not that he was a little punk or some such thing, but he would come to class, and sit at his spot with his earbuds in and not even unpack his bookbag. He was a technically a high school student, but he was home schooled and qualified to start taking college courses early via the Move On When Ready program.
I actually asked him to visit me in my office to discuss his behavior. I didn’t have a problem with students not paying attention, but if the dean were to observe one of my classes and witness his sitting there with his ear buds in, I’d be toast. I suspect his good grades stemmed from a willingness to put in the time outside of class. I politely explained to him during his visit that if he was going to come to class, I needed him to at least pretend to engage in the lecture. He still came, but he would leave the room about 20 minutes into the class, leaving his books and notebooks behind, and not return until the class was over. I don’t know what he was doing, but as long as we wasn’t being disruptive or making me look bad in front of the dean, I wasn’t going to take issue.
The Monday before Easter weekend, he was in a car wreck. I don’t know much about it. All I know is that he was on his way home from a church function, when a large truck hit his car. I also know the wreck was so bad that the authorities wouldn’t let his family see his remains. William’s older sister was also a student at my school at the time (she graduated this semester), and she visited me to leave some pamphlets from Will’s funeral for myself and any of his classmates. As we chatted, she said one of the things Will took to saying that last year of his life was, “Don’t act like you’re guaranteed the car ride home.” Solid advice. I just need to figure out how I’m supposed to apply it.