I've been participating in the CWID Advisory Committee which makes recommendations for changes to the first semester experience course at CWI, where I teach. Last Friday at the regular meeting I received a letter from the lead faculty expressing appreciation for my contributions.
I was totally not expecting to receive anything like this. While it doesn't help me pay any of my bills, it does help me to feel a bit more appreciated. I'm giving my employer leaps and bounds more labor than what I am being paid to provide, and this acknowledge of my service feels good to receive. Plus it's another brick in the wall of my career.
What exactly did I do? More than anything I present a different perspective. Most who serve on the committee come from the humanities and the social sciences. Someone like me coming from a physical science / engineering background provides a perspective that the others don't often see. And when it comes to making decisions about the direction the program should take, having more perspectives is often better than fewer.
I'm still serving on this committee and have no plans to quit while I continue to teach at CWI. As I'm thinking of going back to grad school, I might be teaching here for only one more year. That said, however long it happens to be, it's good to work with people who appreciate what you do and aren't shy about sharing it.
Normally I like winter. The temps dip down, so most people stay inside, and what few do drive by have their windows rolled up, preventing them from sharing their obnoxious bass-ridden music with me. I'm an unabashed fan of quiet, and winter is a great time for quiet. Plus you get the occasional snow fall (well, occasional where I live now) that covers everything in a blanket of purity that makes everything look beautiful, as long as it stays off the roads. There's a lot to be said about winter.
However, this season I think someone forgot to stop singing "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!" That or the local farmers couldn't stop praying for the precipitation. Whatever the cause, I'm officially sick of winter and desperately wanting it not only to stop but to go away.
Lots of other locals feel the same way. School was cancelled during the entire first week of the month, leading many parents to complain about having their kids home. I don't completely understand that because while I was out and about shopping I saw many parents in the stores dragging their kids along. That's the part I don't understand. If the parents can drive the kids to the store, why can't they just drive them to school? Have we become a society so dependent on someone else to do things for us that we've lost the ability to do them ourselves? I understand that the buses can't get around the neighborhoods because of the all the snow and ice. What I don't understand is why we just chalk the whole week away as snow days instead of figuring out Plan B for keeping the kids in school.
Normally the snow comes and then temps rise just enough to clear it out within a couple of days. This season the temps didn't rise but fell. That means each snow fall become a new layer of ice on the ground. And people just aren't equipped for clearing out as much snow as we've been getting. I'm glad my dad has a snow blower, but I had to be out with a shovel helping him clear the snow away. It was so cold the snow would start to freeze soon after settling. So here I am with a shovel picking away at the snow so my dad can then blow it away with his blower.
It's so bad, in fact, I heard my father say that he retired here to get away from all this snow. Now he's seriously thinking of becoming a snowbird, traveling to a warmer place like Arizona for winter and then heading back north for the summer (though the summers here can get into triple digit territory, so I'm not sure what good that does in summer).
I was expecting many of my work colleagues to agree with him this week at the usual in-service activities. But they were all cancelled due to the extreme weather we've been having. And this week I lost a whole week in my M/W class because Monday was a holiday (MLK Day) and Wednesday classes were cancelled due to a freak storm that decided to make an entrance today! And that was after I had to borrow my mother's car because my doors were frozen shut! I had never before had the experience of being frozen out of my car. It's times like this that I miss parking my car in a garage. Rewind. It's times like this that I miss spring.
Enough already! Spring, where are you? I'm am so ready for you! If there is anything I can do to entice you to come early this year (I don't know, like maybe a bribe to Punxsutawney Phil not to see his shadow), let me know because I'm standing at the ready to do it.
It's another new year, and I think it's going to take me awhile to remember that this is 2017 and not 2016. Granted 2016 was a really strange and exhausting year that I would like to forget in many respects, but most strange of all I seem to have grown accustomed to it that I can't seem to feel like this is really a new year.
And as we all know, the start of a new year is typically when people make resolutions and goals for themselves. Within two weeks at least 98% of them will have either forgotten or discarded those goals. I can't deny I've had my own challenges there. I'm not sure I have ever had a year in which I achieved all of my goals. In some years it was because I set too many goals. In other years, it was because I didn't have the support I needed to pursue my goals through the rough patches that life seems always willing to provide.
This year, I've decided to keep it simple and make just one goal: To live my best life in 2017. I just want to do my best to rise above mediocrity and have a life that, while always amazingly busy, will be soul-satisfying and deeply nourishing. I don't intend to make my life perfect by the end of the year, because I don't believe that my best life means having a perfect one. I think my best life is more about the journey than the destination, and while I will always find room for and reach after improvement in most if not all areas of my life, I think my best life is filled more with that reaching than with arriving. That doesn't mean I don't forward to arriving. I just think there is joy to be had in the journey of improvement that resides independent of the joy of accomplishment. Filling my life with that joy from the journey is what I believe will make my best life in 2017.
I'll be posting in the future as the year progresses, so we'll see if I make any progress in it as well. All in all, I feel satisfied that I have simplified everything down to one goal for the year. I know it's not very specific or measurable, but that's really the point. This year I wanted something focused more on process than product, more on the journey than the destination. I'm not looking for a result in terms of achievement so much as a result in terms of a state of being. Again, I'll post more as the year progresses. I look forward to a wonderful journey this year.
Here you can find news and announcements I want to share. In between I'll include reviews of the books I read. Find me on Goodreads.com for more book reviews.