Classes started today. And for the first time in 23 years, I'm not going "back to school." Not in the teaching and/or taking classes sense, at least. It's weird and also really sad. I love the first day of school. Spending an hour the night before choosing an outfit, getting to use new school supplies, getting and/or giving out syllabi, thinking of all the possibilities. It's great, and never once in 23 years have I not been excited for the first day of the school year.
I know this isn't forever. I know that, despite the discouraging things I hear every day about the job market, I very likely will find a teaching position again. Probably even at a school I'll like. I also know that I'm still working toward something huge as I write my dissertation. I know that taking a break from teaching is the only way I'm ever going to get healthy. I know that I will get healthy again--probably fairly quickly--and that I'll be happier when I go back to teach.
I know that academia isn't all of who I am. I know that I need to learn to be happy outside of it. I know I need to remind myself that my value doesn't lie in my ability to think and write and teach.
But, right now, I'm missing out one of my favorite days of the whole year. And that breaks my heart a little.