I had a professor who used to drive me insane. We spent a year working on a philosophy of religion project, and I’m almost sure his behavior was the cause of one—if not all three—of my white hairs. We were tasked with developing a minority religions booklet. I was very anxious about the project because he let me do all the research on Paganism; the project became something personal.
One night, my professor dearest called me to inform me that we had to present a portion of the work at the local police department. I didn’t want sound rude, but I failed. “Do you know what time it is?”
“I do," he answered. "I’m presenting ceremonial illicit drugs and education laws. And I think you should address faith-based prison programs, and the use of religious tools in public settings. What do you think?”
I stated the obvious. “And you couldn’t wait until morning.”
“Of course, but…”
“I'm already up," I interrupted. "You might as well give me the details. I'll get on it as soon as I get in, tomorrow morning. When is it due?”
“Tomorrow at 4:00pm.”
“What!” I screamed at him for a while. He always did things like that, and when I complained, he would try to smooth things over by saying that he trusted my abilities that much.
“It'll be fine,” he assured me. “I didn’t want to tell you earlier because you would have spent the entire week worrying over it.”
“You’ve known about the presentation for a week!” I wanted to reached through my cell phone and pull his hair out.
“Trust me, Magaly,” He insisted. “I’m older and wiser than you, and I’ll be the first one to lose my mind when, and if, the situation calls for panic. We’ll have 6 hours to put together a few slides. We’ll survive.”
I didn’t say anything. I was already thinking about strategy, about who was going to be there, about how the audience was going to react, and a bunch of other things.
“Magaly?” My professor asked.
“Sir?” I answered a bit distracted with my own thoughts.
“Don’t work on it tonight,” he suggested. “Meet me at the office at 9:00am, and we can work on it together.
“Goodnight sir.” I ended the call and was tempted to jump in my car and head to the office. I didn’t. But I spent the entire night tossing and turning, and arranging things in my head.
The presentation went well, but it would have been better if I had gotten more sleep. I was so tired that I kept on repeating myself. I was angry. “You should have told me as soon as you found out, sir.”
“Of course,” he said in the most sarcastic of ways. “You could have studied for your finals, transcribed interviews, go mad over two slides, and never sleep.”
I stayed upset with my professor for two weeks. I would tell anyone who would listen (his wife mostly) that he was irresponsible and unorganized. Now I look back and I see how wrong I was. My professor took care of me. He understood that I was a hopeless worrier, so he assigned things gradually.
I’m getting better, a lot better. I started noticing the change through my writing. When I first started writing fiction, I wanted to write a gazillion stories at the same time. I didn’t know how to deal with all the ideas my brain came up with. I wanted to write everything, and I wanted to do it right away. Then it was blogging… I used to post almost every day. I would feel EXTREMELY guilty if I skipped a week or just a couple of days, so I would sacrifice sleep to stay on top of things. Not anymore. I love blogging, and wish I could do it all the time, but I’m satisfied with sharing my goodness
and modesty when I can. The last thing that told me that I’m becoming more like my professor, happened today: my blog template was corrupted; everything was gone.
A few years ago, I would have probably screamed in frustration. Today, I closed the program, made some coffee, and worked on my fiction. I checked things out a couple of hours later, and tweaked the HTML until the template was readable again. I spent some time on it, but was not able to get the comment link/comment count to show on the main page. I slapped a “Click on the post title if you wish to add a comment” patch, above the main post, and went back to my fiction writing.
My modesty has always been stably high.
How about you, do you find yourself mellowing out with the years? Taking your lemons and making yummy lemonade?