Understanding My Why

Week 140 – November 19, 2022 – Feeling much gratitude

Wow. 140 weeks. I cannot believe it. The pandemic persists and respiratory illness is on the rise during the winter season. I have (knock on wood) been able to avoid this nasty virus and another other cold or flu bug that may be going around. Let’s hope that my new way of being (somewhat introverted and self-isolating) will work in my favour. I am also figuring out to balance work, life, and rest… while being discerning with what brings me joy (or not). I am also aware of the ebb and tide of life. This may include people, work, and way of being. People come and go. Work persists but always changing. And, walking forward through life to figure what’s up or down.

I have to say that I don’t know why I often avoid what works for me. For example, I started this blog entry yesterday, but here I am on a Saturday night (or late afternoon) to write my blog entry with a clear mind and open heart. Honestly, this is the right time. Accept. Allow. Why do I resist things like this? Seems odd. I guess it’s a form of surrendering. For most of my life I’ve spent it doing things that. Do things that people said I should not do or could not do. I almost consider it a challenge, but ironically I end up doing that I don’t want to do to prove someone wrong or to please them. How miserable this that existence? It is. And, it’s awful when you lose yourself doing it.

My life turned around in many ways in the last 5-years. I completed my doctorate (finally), my mom passed away, I moved to a new town, my marriage ended, and I was trying to impress people by being someone I never was. How can I sell myself and my strengths when I’m not even doing anything for myself. It was not a way to live, but I also think that everything that has happened was to get me where I am. What I understand now is, I can do what I love. I can be authentic and who I am. I can care and love my students in ways such that all I want is their success. It’s not about me, but it’s all about people I serve and support. I am now living MY WHY.

What an incredible feeling. I don’t have to announce anything or seek approval from others to validate my actions. I just have to be true to myself and what I experience and witness will provide the feedback I need to know if I’m on the right track or not. I have to say, the last year and a 16-months has been the most transformative. I drove away from my life of 25-years and moved (back) into my apartment with my kid. I love being and living with my kid and together we have been creating a new life. She’s now in nursing school and I’m a full-time Assistant Professor (80/20 teaching and service). We share a car and I am starting life all over again. I am not sad.

The people who are currently playing a big role in my pedagogical journey are my students. They have been amazing and I am so humbled and grateful that each of them are walking beside me on this journey. I could not ask for anything more. At times I don’t believe it. As a result, I question myself and my work. That self-doubt only lasts for a few seconds now, but I am so grateful for my students (and former ones) who have helped me to be the person I am today. They have been amazing. I do seek help from friends and those who informally mentor, but the students have been most affirming. The conversations we’ve had and how classes go… are awesome.

I’ve had an amazing week and every moment of joy had something to do with my kid, my students, or doing things that I love. What can I say? I love connection, community, and collaboration. These 3 C’s are at the core of who I am and ultimately frames my research program. I spent a VERY LONG TIME figuring out what’s really important to me, especially over the last 140 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think I get it and there is nothing I want more than to do things I love. It’s taking some practice to listen to myself and to follow my intuition, but I will get better at this over time. I’m brought back to my dissertation and DELIBERATE PRACTICE. I can do this.

Thank you students, critical friends, and my family for being there for me. I learn so much from each of you and I feel like I am the person I was always meant to be.