It’s been a month since my last post – a very busy month. A month that has seen Birdie’s first trip to the vet (ear and eye infection now cleared up) and my first trip to a new doc (take an anti-inflammatory for the shoulder tendonitis and ease up at the gym, and nothing wrong with the lungs, which may or may not improve). Two four-day weekends clad in pristine weather offering multiple opportunities for bike rides (and apparently few opportunities for cleaning the house) and another four-day weekend with not-so-great weather which mattered not as we celebrated my mom’s 75th birthday at Disneyland (with a return visit to Steelhead Brewing Co. which confirmed they really do make the world’s best burger, at least in my world). At work, meetings and more meetings, the launch of our much anticipated campus-wide advising council (with monthly meetings to follow), and lots of students with lots of questions (the very best part of my job). And the last class in my exercise science/fitness instruction certificate program at UCSD (completed the intensive one-year track – internship and exam still ahead to actually get certified). Whew! Those were just the headlines.
Some big story lines, to be sure. But as we know, life is in the details, covered in one or two paragraphs often buried on the inside back page. This has been a particularly challenging year for me on the job with service on committees tasked with improving systems and advising services on campus. The real task is to do more with less in this time of budgetary uncertainty while upholding the mission (and quality) of public education. I am thankful for the many talented and wonderful colleagues I have the honor to work with on these initiatives. Together, we make it through the day, valuing each other and believing we do make a difference in the lives of our students. Still, at the end of the day, I feel spent. Completely spent.
Enter the ritual of renewal, all those things we do to get us through the trying times in life. We are doing them all along, really, but when things are running smoothly, we don’t really notice we are laying the foundation of our sanity. When the going gets tough, we each have to find a way to “go home” lest we go crazy. For me, it’s bicycling, my family and friends, making muffins, walking the dog or simply watching an afternoon of football while Carol is away at chorus rehearsal. Even being present in seemingly mundane moments – running errands, cleaning house, pulling weeds – brings renewal, if I’m paying attention.
In reflecting on this past month, I can see there’s a whole lotta living going on in this life, though sometimes it seems the “busyness” obscures my view resulting in a feeling of overwhelm rather than overjoy. Then, maybe with a gentle nudge from Carol or a sincere smile from a stranger, I remember. Remember the gift in being healthy enough to be busy with a jam-packed calendar and a Contacts app full of friends and family to share it all with. Remember the blessing in having the means to choose my ride: the bike, the Prius, the Matterhorn, and now, AIDS/LifeCycle.
So before the holiday hustle ramps up too much more, I am sowing the seeds to remember. When it’s busy at work, remember. I have work – meaningful work with wonderful people. When it seems there’s one too many events on the calendar, remember. I have friends and family who choose to be with me. When the house isn’t as clean as I’d like it to be, remember. I have clutter because I have stuff. When I think I’m done with all my holiday errands and discover there is still one more, remember. There is privilege in even having errands. Remember, that woven through all this blessed busyness is the gift of life, and that in itself, is renewal.