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edu180atl: quinton walker 10.22.12

There’s a certain irony that I’m writing today.  You see, I slept in on this spectacular Monday morning.  No bells, no students, no rush hour traffic.  I was 500 miles away over the weekend.  I was visiting family, building friendships with some really special people, and playing a game I love dearly — volleyball. 

I had looked forward to this weekend for months.  This weekend was about restoration.  About connection.  About being away from my world – of students, of committee meetings, of policy memos to write for graduate school.  Those of us caught in the webs of education often find that pushing ourselves just a bit too hard becomes more commonplace than exception.  And this weekend, I was determined, would be a weekend full of purposeful distraction.

The weekend was indeed spectacular.  I shared meals with my dad, grandmother, aunts, and cousins, people I care deeply for but have been negligent of given my strenuous schedule.  I laughed until I cried with some friends who, though relatively new in my life, feel as if they have been there for years.  I even won a medal for my team’s efforts on the court.

Yet, I drove away from my friend’s house this morning in a funk. I was undeniably sad.  Hadn’t I left Atlanta under the auspices of restoration, of connection, and of escape?

I didn’t want the weekend to end.  But I knew the unwritten comments and policy memos, the unsent e-mails, and the unplanned classes were still there, waiting to be written and planned.

I’m learning there’s no sense in expending energy to “escape” my life.  It is omnipresent, just as it is for each of you.  Reflecting helps me realize, however, that my challenge rests in embracing the weekend for exactly what it was intended to be – a purposeful distraction.

As I write from the couch, I’m still a bit sad.  But my life is in a better place because of it.

About the author: Quinton is nursing two sore knees.  By day, he asks kiddos to think.  By night, he is asked to think.  He is the Director of the Program for Global Citizenship at HIES.

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Quinton, thanks for this post. As someone educated in economics, I am reminded of the work-leisure paradox. As someone immersing himself in the design world, I think of the “room to breathe” effect. I was talking with a friend not long ago, and I described a piece of paper with words filling the page – words all the way to the margins, words jammed too tight. We know this is poor design. The margins and the spaces give the words room to breathe – for function, form, and aesthetics. But the elements are mixed together. In other words, the words are not all at the top half (or 9/10) and the margins/spacing in the remaining zone. It is the balanced mixing which makes for a beautiful and useful page. Similarly, I have always been troubled by the work-leisure paradox because the theory seems to box the two elements in separate categories…like thinking we must put all the words on one part of the page and all the margin/spacing at the other part. What about a balanced mix? Here’s to finding that! I feel many steps closer myself.

    Hope to see you soon.

    October 23, 2012
  2. sctownsend #

    Love this, Mr. Walker. Here’s to purposeful distraction!

    October 23, 2012
  3. Quinton, thought you might like this TEDx talk, too: Carrie Contey – Power of the Pause http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqJXC1ougtA

    October 23, 2012
  4. Nicely done, Q. I, too, find this balance hard to achieve. The fact that we keep trying must mean we’re either gluttons for punishment or that we may–just may–find ourselves doing something that we love and want to keep doing. Amen to “purposeful distractions,” the key word being “purposeful”–lots of distractions out there, but many are time-wasters.

    Here’s to next weekend.

    October 23, 2012
  5. Maryellen Berry #

    I love Bo’s comments and your post. I am reminded that we often are so focused on tasks at work, that we miss the connections that our work can bring. Today, I chose to eat outside. I watched Third Graders play and talked with a science teacher about life and her work at school. Both are part of the job, but my perspective changed moving my work outside. Thanks for your candor and vulnerability in this post.

    October 23, 2012
  6. Patrick Allegra #

    If it makes you feel any better…I missed you on Monday!
    I find reading blogs such as this one “purposeful” distraction, but I wonder if it counts since it deals with what I do all day anyway. Is it really a distraction?

    October 24, 2012

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