Settling In

My son is registered to start at a Quaker school in August. I don’t know what that will end up looking like, but one practice that they (and Quaker meetings) have that I’m thinking about today is settling in. I first encountered this practice when my advisor, whose son attends the same school that my son will attend, introduced it to a class for which I was serving as teaching assistant. This is time at the beginning of a gathering to settle in silence, to transition from the world to the meeting. It’s a practice that I have done without realizing it at the times that I consider most sacred.

Usually before getting ready to perform. I like to get to the theater early. Preferably before everyone else. (For my first community theater show, I got there so early that the company ended up being charged for extra time in the theater. Whoops.) I need this time to transition between spaces.

Early in my teaching career, the only teaching job I could find was part-time - 30% I think? I taught two Latin III classes in the afternoon. I needed more money than that paid to pay my bills, so I took a customer service representative job. I was a CSR in the morning and a teacher in the afternoon. I had a 15 - 20 minute drive between my two workplaces that served as the beginning to a transition, and then lunchtime in the teacher workroom to complete the transition. I needed that time to shift my headspace.

I have 2 - 3 jobs now, too. I spend about half the work day momming and the other half the day scholaring. Which one I’m doing when varies depending on the day, but either way, I need to transition from one to the other. And there’s no physical space where I can transition, because everyone who can works from home right now. So I need time.

I get frustrated at myself for taking the time. Why oh why, I think to myself, can’t I just hand my kid off to another caring adult, then plop in front of my laptop and jump into my research?

Because I need time to settle in.

So I’m giving myself permission to settle in. Today, I’m writing this blog post, and that’s how I’m settling in. Do you need transition time? How do you settle in?

Kimberly Hirsh @kimberlyhirsh