…I was struggling with an Archaeology assignment about the effect of the Roman civilization on the rest of the world. This time, I’m struggling with an Archaeology assignment about the development of writing in various regions of the world.
And that’s where the similarity ends. At this time last year, I was sitting at a daycare, holding my breath, hoping the kids would settle down there in the next few days before I joined work. I suffered considerable angst about them reaching the daycare by school van. Would my babies be scared, worried, or want to go to the toilet while they were in the van? Would they be bullied by the other kids? Would the driver be safe and reliable?
I felt a little guilty about the daycare situation as well. They would leave home at 7.30 a.m. and return only around 6.30 p.m. every week day. Would they be secure and comfortable being away from home all day? Would they suffer from too little of my time and attention? Would I suffer? And how would I ever survive the killer commute through suffocating traffic snarls that took over an hour each way?
Meanwhile, we had to sneak in a quick trip to Pondicherry, so that I wouldn’t have to take time off as soon as I joined my new job.
And there was the job itself – I was worried about that too. Would I be able to manage? It had been two years since I’d left my job. Did I still have what it takes to be on par in the workplace? I felt rusty – would I be able to hone what used to be my skills at work? And, equally importantly, could I manage my work and also continue to give my family and home the attention they needed?
With all these worries weighing me down, I struggled to figure out in 3,000 laborious words what, exactly, had been the process and impact of romanisation in the ancient Roman empire. Apparently, I did a halfway decent job of it.
This time, I should be so lucky.
I have nothing to complain about, though. I’ve not got half the worries I had last year at this time. I know the kids are delighted and thrilled with their daycare. Their van situation is mildly worrying, but nothing to be alarmed about. I don’t think we have any more trips to Pondicherry in the offing. I have rediscovered my tech writing and editing skills and learnt a lot of new things along the way. I have been managing to work and keep things going at home for the last whole year without entirely coming apart at the seams. And, best of all, the commute home is now so comfortable that on a good day I can make it home from office in 40 minutes even though I need to take a short detour to pick up the kids.
Yes, this year, my problems are trifling, trivial: How can I improve at tennis? How can I get enough sleep (and why isn’t seven hours a night enough)? How can I stop myself from completely losing it with the kids, especially when they keep putting stuff in their mouth, spitting, or biting? (And why do they do these disgusting things? Why!?!)
Only one problem remains the same, and just as unanswerable as it was last year: How can or (or, in fact, can I) get my assignment out of the door on time? It’s 3000 words! How am I going to come up with 3,000 words about the development of writing in less than three weeks, I ask you. (And yes, I’m a writer – the irony of that question is not lost on me.)