Friday, January 23, 2015

Re-learning myself

In my journey, increased awareness has been critical.

I know  more of a planner, a "J" if you speak Meyers-Briggs, and knowing this lets me be thankful for those mysterious people, the "P"s who can drop everything at a moment's notice to serve others.

Knowing that I really do need eight hours of sleep helps me give myself the grace to "sleep in" if I've been up late and not hold myself to a rigid schedule just because.

One major thing I've found myself craving is feedback:'the relational space to ask and offer follow-up. 

That was fun! 

What did you mean?

Actually, I really meant it when I said "please don't do that."

Do you like this idea?

It involves vulnerability to ask for - and offer! - feedback, but I find that this is where trust is.

You're doing great! Thank you!

No, I don't need to be consulted. It's your decision.

She's doing great work, and will be an asset.

Could you move over? I'm trying to open that cabinet.

I am awful on the phone; texting is a much better way to reach me.

Would you like a hug?

Follow-up. It's where the magic happens.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Buy the fancy wasserflasche

Self-care isn't easy for me.

I don't go to bed when I should even though I know I like mornings and need > 8 hours of sleep.

I don't always do my dishes at the end of the day even though I know I like the closure.

I have been known to eat too many brownies instead of something reasonable for dinner.

I nearly bought a dog bed instead of my fantastic reading chair that I had been saving for three years for, cause it could have been alright.

And so when I drink too much coffee, and run a lot, and forget to drink water all day I start to wake up with headaches because I'm dehydrated. My lips turn this nice reddish color, and my mouth is dry.

It can take two days of this before I start doing anything to not be dehydrated.

I've known for a long time that I drink more when I drink through a straw. I don't know why, but its been a consistent observation. This is why I use a straw every morning with my coffee - then I won't waste it.

I had a water bottle at work, but lost it at the Chili's in the O'Hare airport while traveling this Christmas.

What with winter being so brutal and my energy/ desire to do self-care not very high I got dehydrated again. I knew that without replacing the water bottle that I had been using at work, the issue wouldn't get resolved quickly.

I brought my purple Klean Kantern water bottle to work - where I spend most of my waking hours.

Then last weekend in a Target run I finally bought one of those Contigo water bottles with the straw. It has a straw! And it doesn't leak. And it doesn't wobble (Al was badly dented on my Klean Kantern). And? And? It's purple.

So now I have two water bottles, one for home and one for work. And the home one with the straw? Yeah, I have been known to need to refill it twice in a given evening.

A step in the right direction, I think.

Monday, November 24, 2014

New teachers newlyweds

I'm teaching this semester. It's been fantastic. Being a first time teacher reminds me of being a newlywed. Bear with me here.

I've been involved with this course for three previous semesters. But as a graduate student teaching assistant not the instructor.

I had my own students. I had near full responsibility or class time. I wrote and graded my own materials.

Even having been involved before, being the instructor is different.

I knew I was going to like it.
I knew I was comfortable with the course content.

But it's still different being the instructor versus facilitating discussion sections.

I still have my own students. 
I still mostly have complete control over what happens during class time.
I still write and grade my own materials.

The best analogy I can think of is the difference between dating lots of guys and knowing you like guys and getting married. 

Even knowing you like the guy you intend to marry, it's still different when you're married. Even if you get along with your groom, it doesn't mean you won't have bad days too. Even if you've been together and committed for a while, it can still be good to learn fringe wisdom of those that have gone before.

Be nice to new teachers.
Even if they (and their students!) love what they do, they're new to it.

Encourage.

Support.

And help count down the number of days until break.

Friday, November 21, 2014

To Be

I keep lots of To Do lists. They're helpful in keeping me on task and working on my most important and pressing tasks. I probably write a new one every 2-3 days.

Yesterday, I reminded myself that I am a human being not a human doing. Not a new commitment for me. But then I wondered, if I'm not a human doing why do I make so many to do lists and not a single to be list?

A to be list.

Like a Rule of Life.

A check in on the principals that I want to guide my life.

These wouldn't be items to check off, so much as direction markers.

If, for example, I believe community is an integral part I education, is it okay for me as a prof to not build that into my course?

If, for example, I have a fundamental commitment to living a healthy life, what does this mean for my eating habits (or lack thereof) thanksgiving through New Years?

I'm not sure how to go about writing and refining such a To Be list, but I do think having one would be a good thing.

Do you have something like a To Be list?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm a morning person

I've long known that my days go better when I have slow mornings versus when I feel rushed to get out the door. My favorite mornings are lingering mornings: waking up slowly, drinking coffee while looking out a window, intermittent reading, doing my breakfast dishes, and dressing slowly.

I'm not, however, relational in the morning. Generally speaking, I don't like to talk to other people. With one giant exception (Roommate1), I prefer to be left to myself in those early hours (yes hours).

It's still hard to get myself to go to be early enough to be up early enough to have lingering mornings, but it's worth it. I like feeling well rested, well fed, AND productive by 9am.

I didn't realize I had the tenacity to regularly get up until my most recent training regime. To get all my miles in, work, and keep other commitments meant that I had to get up and run 4-8 miles before work, sometimes multiple times a week. It wasn't great, but I could get it done. And I found that I liked when my mornings started earlier.

In this new post-marathon season, I've decided to intentionally be up to have a lingering breakfast with Jesus on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We'll mostly just hang out. I'm not sure either of us have much to say, but time will tell.

Today, however is Tuesday and I found myself waking up before my alarm. I managed to do a load of laundry, make brownies, chop, roast, and freeze two red peppers, clean up from yesterday, pack my lunch, answer a few emails, and commute to campus by 8:15am.

I like this kind of routine. It wasn't my MWF lingering morning, but an intentionally productive morning does mean that I don't have to do chores on the weekend and that I feel awake and ready to go when I get to work. Both are notable targets.

So. It looks like I'll be early to sleep and early to rise.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What now?

In April of this year, the last weeks of grad school, I got the feeling that it was time for a new running goal. I talked to a running friend to see if she wanted to run a marathon with me - shoulder to shoulder. I had the whole summer off from work (on sabbatical) and so I had the time to train. She said yes.

April 31st I successfully defended my thesis.
May 20th I turned in all my thesis revisions.
June 1st I set a(nother) new PR time on my fifth half marathon.
June 2nd I started training for my first full marathon.

It was a great plan.

Running keeps me honest. You can't fake your weekly miles and do okay on long runs. If the calendar says 8 miles in a Thursday but friends are getting together for dinner, I either got up and ran the miles in the morning or went to dinner late.

I ran miles on a cruise ship.

 I ran miles on three vacations in new cities.

 I did some of my double digit long runs by myself in the hot summer heat.

I had committed to the whole plan and I did run every single mile on that plan. The training plan gave me direction and focus towards a goal that I wanted to achieve. The goal was actually to do the training faithfully, and I did.

October 19th I ran the Detroit Free Press Marathon. I rocked it. I was happy and smiling the entire time. I hugged family who came to spectate. I got I encourage my running buddy on those terrible miles.

We finished five minutes before our goal time. It could not have gone better.

And during this training I started a new job (my cushy postdoc) a part of which is teaching as the instructor of record for ~250 students in my section. It's pretty much the best thing ever.

But the day after my marathon I couldn't help but wonder: "now what?"

Just the same as I knew it was time to train for a marathon, I know that this is not the time to train for a new, large running goal. (Though I will certainly keep running.)

I don't need a new hobby, or another place to serve.

I liked the focus that the marathon training brought to life. Scheduling was simpler - I was usually busy running. The people I saw most were those also training for full marathons.

Yet, I miss having a goal.

Finishing a PhD and a marathon in one year is enough.

Yet there is this niggling question: now what?


Monday, September 29, 2014

Simplified Community

Over the last two months my community -who I do life with - has changed pretty comprehensively. 

Some of it has to do with having a new job. I had 15-20 coworkers that I was with ~60 hours a week. Now I have one  coworker that I see ~35 hours a week.

I left three small group bible studies through my church this summer. 

The group from my department that I had prayed with every week in grad school had disbanded since we have ( nearly!) all graduated.

My weekly lunches with my best girl friends aren't happening (like they used to) since we work in different cities now.

I can go days without seeing my roommates because marathon training has me early to bed and early to rise.

I am way down on numbers of friends, but the friends that I do have are really  good friends. It's always been quality over quantity, but this is yet somehow a little different.

I'm not lonely.
I'm right where I'm supposed to be.

I don't really understand this. And I wouldn't have chosen it. Yet there is a decided sense of rightness about how things are.

I like simple. And a simpler community is working for what Life is right now.

I don't know why it is what it is, but Im leaning into this blessed, full life one day at a time.