I am not going to MLA this year, for what seems like the first year in ages. Despite the stress of getting ready for the holidays, it feels so peaceful. Here's how the tasks are stacking up:
Differences from MLA years:
I am not frantically trying to fine-tune/write/rewrite the MLA paper, which despite good resolutions always still needs work before MLA. This means that I've actually been able to notice, and interact with, family members. Talk. Watch movies. Hang out. All the stuff called "normal life." It's wonderful.
Since I am of a personality type (INTP) that dreads any kind of commitments, even parties, once I'm committed to them, this is one thing I don't have to dread over the holidays.
I am only vaguely, but not, as is usual, obsessively, aware of bad weather, plane delays, and so on.
I am not reviewing job candidates' information in preparation for interviewing them at MLA.
I am actually looking forward to a family day tomorrow instead of scheming about how quickly I can get away from the festivities to continue with the incessant work (and anxiety) of getting ready for MLA.
Similarities with MLA years:
I still refuse to read the xeroxed letters that come in Christmas cards this time of year, since they provoke such unseemly emotions as envy ("How did she get to spend the summer at Oxford?"), cynical curiosity ("Vacations in Belize AND Hawai'i? On a professor's salary? Really?"), and despair ("Why isn't my book done yet, as his is?").
I still hate writing Christmas cards.
I still get to make lots of cookies, except this time I won't feel guilty about taking the time to decorate them.
I feel as though I am trying out a new product: "Christmas 2.0, new and improved with more time. Now with less MLA and less guilt!"