Today as I sipped a mug of hot chocolate designed to get me through the next few hours of painstaking research, the back of my mind was also planning for the next teaching day. And I suddenly remembered --or realized really-- how beautiful and simple and pleasant the good old days were. They were the days where I got to be one of the students lazing in a desk rather than the one dancing around in front of the classroom saying interesting things.
All I had to do was show up and sit there with a pencil in my hand, while knowledge was bestowed upon me by some kind of expert. It never mattered what I was wearing, or how much energy I had, or even whether my brain was switched on, because I could just sit there.
And when there was homework, it usually involved reading a book. Just reading it! Not trying to situate that book into some greater historiographical landscape, or extract key arguments to engage with on a deep and laborious level. Not raking carefully through copious footnotes. Not building a reading list from said footnotes that stretches out before me like a Kansas highway.
Or, if there was studying to be done, all I had to do was memorize some interesting stuff that someone told me!
And if I had to write a paper, it was ten pages max. Ten pages! And it didn't have to be some earth-shaking, revolutionary idea. Just a collection of facts, really. Read a couple books, summarize them in 10 pages.
My apologies, good old days. You were so kind to me, and I appreciated you so little. And now alas! you are lost forever! I raise my mug to you, and bid you my fondest, most loving farewell.
Good thing I get a hot chocolate out of it.