I miss academia

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A few days ago I walked down the aisles of a rather small university library. My eyes wandered through the shelves picking out the titles of books. I felt a sense of coming home. I’ve missed academia. I’ve been reading constantly anyway. It isn’t like I’ve faced a shortage of books. What I’ve missed is the assurance that it is good and normal to read, to learn about everything and anything. I miss being someplace where the thoughts and ideas were assets, rather than just another difference between myself and the next mother over. Walking through the university library was like being welcomed into a world outside of myself. The books called to me.

I miss academia. I was trying to explain this to a friend the other day and I couldn’t because we got caught up in the words “debate” and “argue.” To my friend the words sound antagonistic, like I was talking about wanting to get into fights with people. To me it is more a desperate desire to engage in discussions with people where my own views can be challenged.

I feel very unsettled intellectually. I have a hard time believing that any of my ideas have an validity at all, partly because I can remember for most of them a time when I was convinced of the opposite. If I was convinced at one point one thing, and now I believe the other, I know there is a definite possibility that I’ll believe something totally different at some point soon. It leaves me feeling unsettled. Does changing my ideas mean I’m just drifting? Does it mean I’m not sorting through arguments fully enough and just letting myself be persuaded too easily on things?

On top of that I’m scared of going out on limbs. I’m scared of writing about half of what I’m thinking about, because I’m scared that I’ll look back and think this all is silly. Even something as mundane as mentioning liking a television show leaves me worry. What if three years from now I’ve picked apart all the reasons why that television show is promoting ideas I don’t like or something? Will I look back and think this silly?

Writing is personal. I can almost understand why back a couple hundred years ago writing was not considered a decent thing for women to do. It’s exposing oneself, and that was at a time before the Internet. I wonder, what will I think about this blog three years from now? Will I look back and cringe at exposing myself this way? I might. That said, I want to keep writing. I’m not just sure how. I feel a need to write though, and not just about my homeschooling activities. I want to have the courage to write more about ideas and politics.

I was participating as much as I could in the Lead Now campaign for 13 heroes to stand against the omnibus Budget Bill. I wrote letters. I went to one of the local rallies. I was disappointed when 13 heroes didn’t step forward, but I’m somehow still holding onto hope. It seems that the Canadian government is going so far, surely we’ll see change for the better soon. I want to believe still that the backbencher politicians will someday revolt. I want to keep writing them letters as often as I can. I want to write respectful, polite letters looking for the shared values we have and urging them to take action with regards to those values. For example, there’s an article about political patronage and how the Harper government once wanted to get rid of it but now is engaging fully in it. Write to your backbencher Conservatives and urge them to stick true to Conservative values of accountability.

Somedays I’m more hopeful than others. This morning I read this ridiculous article saying that people will look back at Stephen Harper as a great statesman. That idea horrifies me because it suggests that none of the bad things Harper’s done really matter in the long-run. Giving up on science? Cracking down on refugees wanting health care?  Gut environmental protection? Is the economy really the only thing that matters to people? (And is the growth of the type of economy he’s aiming for really a positive thing long-term?) What if I’m just living in an echo chamber, thinking that Canadians believe in values they don’t?

I don’t know what to think these days and for me that is one of the most uncomfortable things.

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