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The Academic’s New Year

September 13, 2011
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I have always felt like a lifelong student (and having worked in higher education for nearly 15 years only adds to this). My mental calendar works from September through June only. Then there’s July 4th, followed by my birthday and then a blur of August.

But September has always been what I consider to be a time of renewal. New classes, new books, new notebooks and teachers. New wardrobe and shoes and a whole new clean slate. Who are you this year? What are you doing and where are you going?

I don’t make new year’s resolutions. And for me, January is always going to be the half-year mark.  So, I self-reflect in September.

In the last year I’ve set 2 running PRs, and medaled in a race. I’ve been training diligently for my next marathon (Baystate, October 16th), and really hoping to qualify for Boston, even with the new time changes (I need a 3:35 or better).

As a race gets closer, I do several things: I fluctuate between feeling like I can’t possibly meet the goal, and knowing I can nail it. I also wonder and think about what’s next. If I miss it, which spring marathon will I run? If I make it, which shorter races will I turn my attention to, in the meantime, before Boston training begins?

I used to think that maybe I worry too much. But you know, as I get older, I have learned something: that’s just me. This is what I do. Running, training and competing is very important to me, ergo it gets a lot of my attention.

I would like to be better about things like not worrying so much about the little things. I am a very strong Type A personality, and it gets a little worse as I get older. I like my house clean. All. The. Time. I don’t like shoes in my house (dirty floors? Ack. Besides, at any given time, I have just finished washing the floors.). I get sort of stressed if we’re returning from a vacation late on a Sunday and I don’t have time to get groceries/pack our lunches/have everything in perfect order.

But this is life, right? It’s not the end of the world if my little planet isn’t perfectly organized at every turn. What matters most is relationships. Adventures. Reaping the benefits of your hard work.

So what will I do this year? I will run. And I will love every single minute of it. And say “yes” more. And try to worry less. I will paint my nails on a semi-regular basis. I will knit more complicated patterns, and finish the quilt lurking in the craft room. I will read more. And I will do it all wearing new shoes (you know I went back to school shopping, right??).  Here’s to a year of adventures! I’m only sad I’m not getting graded for this.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2011 5:26 pm

    Love this post.. We are very similar, and I, like you, need to learn to let go a little more. Not everything needs to be 100% perfect 100% of the time. I have vowed to live more in the moment, and to savor the little things.. Great post.

    • September 13, 2011 5:35 pm

      That is exactly it, Meaghan! Getting my feet and brain in the same place is often difficult, because I am thinking 10 steps ahead of where I am, and what I need to do. Most of these are self-imposed need-to-do lists. There is a Japanese proverb I like. “One radish at a time”. You cannot peel a radish while looking at the pile of radishes you have yet to peel. You’ll cut yourself. Big congrats on your 70.3!!!!!

      • September 14, 2011 6:40 pm

        Thanks N!!!

        And yes, sounds like we are VERY similar in that sense.. Its the silly lists that we make for ourselves, that don’t actually NEED to be done. But once it’s on paper, it’s “gotta do it, and gotta do it all NOW!”

  2. September 13, 2011 6:02 pm

    Always good to reflect and set new goals. I am with you on the worrying one – I once heard a saying, “Worry is a waste of the imagination.” Loved that – because typically the thing I am worrying about – a week or so later it’s not even in the back of my mind anymore.
    My resolution this past year was to “relax more” which is so much easier said than done for me. It took awhile to convince myself that sitting on the couch watching reality TV for a couple hours on the weekends is totally okay 🙂

    • September 14, 2011 1:27 am

      That is great advice! I understand exactly. I think as runners, we always want better, want to do more, etc. There is always so much I want to do (I admit I knit on my commute, so I can make sure I knit everyday – something I love to do!), and I feel like in order to squeeze it all in, I’m always going going going! Sitting and unwinding never makes it to my list. I will take a page out of your book, Kate! Thanks for sharing that.

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