It’s a big week. This is going to be a big week for our country (regardless of which side you are on), a big week at the gym, a big week at school, and a big week for me. The country part is fairly obvious, and all I will say is I just hope people can start to Be Kind again, regardless of whether we agree or disagree. I miss when we could disagree on something and it was okay. I miss when the push wasn’t to be a keyboard warrior, but to be a good person. Politics aside, I sincerely hope we can start to heal and come together to celebrate our differences instead of fight about them. In fact, I will just say it. I refuse to not be kind.
It’s also a big week at the gym. This week we have our first seminar, and it is about setting goals. I am a huge goal setter, and I actually teach how to set goals in my classes, so I am super stoked about this event. I am also a little nervous about it. We haven’t done this before, and I am in charge of planning it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do things well, and that can lead to being pretty down on myself if something doesn’t go exactly as planned. Let’s be clear, it isn’t because I think I am perfect that this bothers me, it is because I feel like I let someone down. Something will happen not according to plan, and that is how we can learn and do better for the next time. This week, I refuse to forget that flaws are how we learn and grow.
This week is also a big week at school. It’s the first (almost) full week of classes. Granted, we don’t have class on Monday because of MLK day, but it is the first time most classes will meet more than just the day 1 syllabus talk kind of day. I love the beginning of a new semester, but it is also a time that is a little nerve-wracking for teachers and students of all ages. For those of us in higher ed, each new semester or quarter is like starting a new academic year. There are huge hopes and dreams that are mired in expectations and standards, and those can be overwhelming. When you tack the normal stuff on top of a pandemic, a country at odds from within, pandemic fatigue, and lots of outside noise thinking about the beginning of this semester can be a little overwhelming. So this semester I refuse to get mired down in the constant stuff outside of my classroom so I can simply control what is happening within my classroom.
That gets us to it being a big week for me. Personally. Now, you may laugh about what I am getting ready to tell you, and that’s okay. I’m kind of laughing, too. It is still a big deal in my head for whatever reason. This week I turn 40. I don’t know why I am having a hard time with it. It is the first birthday where I can say that I finally feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing and have a career that I love. It’s also a little hard to look and realize that I came into that career really late. I’m 40, with one semester as a full-time faculty member under my belt. I’m 40 with a daughter that is going to college next year. Life is changing a lot this year, and maybe that is why I am dreading this big number. Why couldn’t it have been 39? Anyway, I really don’t like the way I am feeling about turning 40. I also don’t like that I am dreading my birthday. It could also have something to do with the fact that I am pretty sure the day before my birthday is going to be slightly nuts. Regardless, I am going to try to stop it now. In fact, I refuse to let myself dwell on getting older.
That seems like a lot of negativity for a space that I don’t normally let get negative. Maybe it isn’t negative, it is just me thinking about what lies ahead. In actuality, I am really trying to take a stand against the negativity that could typically find a way into my head to prevent it from getting in there and multiplying. One of the things I have found about myself is that it doesn’t take much for the negative thoughts to start and it takes even less for them to multiply exponentially. This is my way of drawing that line. It is the way that I am going to remind myself about growth when I feel overwhelmed or like things aren’t going right. It is how I’m going to remind myself to cut myself the same slack I cut others. It’s how I’m reminding myself that age is just a number. I refuse to let this week get the best of me.