Beyond the Buildings: Project Thankful #230



Going off of what I said in “Still September?” is the above picture.  See, on my campus there are alcoves, hidden sanctuaries dotted throughout the campus where individuals can sit, away from the human highways of the pavement and sidewalks.  This picture was taken looking up from one such alcove, a stone bench not even 100 feet away from my building.  The bench was in a cluster of trees, providing not only shade, but protection from the stress that occupied my psyche.

I looked up, and I was humbled.  There is a pressure that comes with being a graduate student and being a teacher of having to perform in the classroom as proof of the importance of one’s existence.  Looking up from my momentary sanctuary, it struck me that I was wasting my energy attempting to appeal to this need to perform.  My existence is not a performance; it’s rooted in the primordial, grounded in a foundation that pre-exists the buildings I inhabit.

It’s vital to remember the individual, the existence that transcends the name on the roster, the student in the desk, and the teacher in the classroom.


Project Thankful: Reason #224

In a couple of weeks, I will start my journey as a graduate student as well as starting teaching.  The couple of weeks before a semester begins are always the most chaotic, leaving one feeling with a sense of “How is everything going to get done?”  Between student loans (or as I like to think of them, adding time to my debt sentence), homework (yes, even before classes officially start I have assignments due), lesson planning, and transitioning into a new living space, it’s overwhelming to begin to think about all that is on my To Do list.

Today was such an example.  First, I had to call the cable company about my service.  Next, I had to call Financial Aid about my Fall bill.  After that, I had to complete Entrance Counseling for my graduate loans which not only took away time, but also optimism about my financial situation.  To cap it all off, I had laundry I needed to do.

By the time I was finished with as much as I could do for today, the couch was beginning to look like my best friend.  I sat down, and I realized I had two choices: to wallow in the “Why me?” of how much I have going on right now; or, to keep moving forward.  Because when life gives us a challenge, or challenges, those are basically our two options: dwell on the negative; or, continue to go on, using an inner calm to put all that negative into perspective.

Whenever my worrying starts to creep into the Red Zone, I remind myself of the things that calm me down.  I like to think of them as my anchors, the things that cause me to pause.  Some are little, but hey, sometimes it’s the little things that can make the largest impact.

My family

My cat

Chocolate milk


Reading a book


Closing my eyes and forcing myself to listen to what’s outside my windows

Going outside

There are more (including more that involve chocolate).  For now, I think I’ve regrouped enough to tackle another item on that To Do list for today.


Project Thankful: Reason #206

Have a great weekend!

I’ve decided I’m taking the weekend off from blogging.  It’s going to be a beautiful, sunny weekend that is not going to be too hot.  The type of weekend meant to enjoyed doing any number of activities, none of which include being glued to the computer.

I think our culture emphasizes constantly being “connected” as in continually being online or technologically available via social media, text, even phone calls.  This weekend I will be connected, just not necessarily on social media.

Project Thankful: Reason #195

I’m back!

Yesterday, I went up to New Hampshire to look at potential apartments.  We were early to the first showing.  As in, an hour and a half early.  In lieu of waiting in the parking lot for 90 minutes, we decided to head downtown.  Which turned out to be a 3 minute drive from the first apartment.

When I met with current grad students at the college, they mentioned the town where the first apartment was located is more “urban” than some of the other neighboring towns and cities.  Growing up south of Boston, my idea of what constitutes urban is very different.  The town itself was quiet, featuring a river that runs through it and being surrounded by trees.  In fact, the first apartment I looked at was encased in trees on all sides of the building.

Later that day, we looked at an apartment complex that I fell in love with from the website.  In person, the apartment complex was not so enchanting.  The apartment style was urban, industrial.  It was too stark for my taste.  By the afternoon, we headed back to the first apartment we looked at, and I filled out an application (fingers crossed!).

Most of my friends would not consider me a country, outdoorsy type of person.  I do not camp, nor do I feel a desire to do so.  I hate bugs with a fiery passion so intense that I once broke a kitchen window killing a fly (true story).  I could not live without air conditioning.  Deep Woods Off is my bug spray of choice, no matter the setting.  So for me to favor an apartment that is the most woodsy of the ones of the I saw may seem out of character.  

Yet when I walked into that first apartment and saw the view of the trees from the deck out back, I knew I had I found my apartment.  See, as much as I may hate bugs, I love nature.  To be in nature is to be open with one’s soul.  Nature is the ultimate inspiration, the primordial imagination one draws from, or in some cases, draws.  

Now, I’m just waiting to hear whether my application has been approved or not.  Fingers crossed!


Project Thankful: Reason #191

I had to help chaperone the sixth graders on their field trip to Camp Wing.  I’ll admit, when I first learned I would be spending the day outdoors, in a predominantly woodsy environment, I was nervous.  I like the outdoors, but I hate bugs.  That list of insects they put on bug spray?  Yeah, I’ve been bitten by pretty much all of those insects and more.

There were bugs.  In fact, some bugs landed on me.  Despite all of the bugs, I didn’t freak out.  I wasn’t even paranoid.  I was too busy enjoying being out in the woods, surrounded by sky high trees, immersed in the fresh air.  It took me back to when I was a kid, more interested in exploring and adventure and less worried about the details.

Although, if I’m being 100% honest, I did re-apply buy spray quite a few times.  I like to think that help out, just a little.

Project Thankful: Reason #189: Declaring Defeat

Yesterday, we sat outside looking at the water.  I listened to the waves crash against the rocks, the salt air captivating my senses.  I looked at the blue water beating against the hard rocks, and I found myself resigned to the reality that my life is not how I imagined it would be at this point, nor will it probably turn out how I continue to imagine it will be in the future.

On Friday, I go apartment hunting in New Hampshire.  I have four potential apartments lined up to look at, all of which meet my two main requirements (washer/dryer hookups and pet friendly).  Still, I thought circumstances would be different when the time came to look at my own place.  Without rehashing a post I already blogged, I not only thought I would be at a different place in my life when I moved out, I also thought financially I would be at a different place as well.

I have undergraduate student loans, and now I will be taking out graduate student loans.  When I reached the point of about to start graduate school, somehow, magically I guess is the best term to describe it, I envisioned a means would appear that would at least allow me to pay off the remainder of my undergrad loans.  

That hasn’t happened.

And I know that I have enough common sense as well as financial sense to make sure that I will be alright in the end.  It’s just that lingering sense that things should be different, that my vision should be a reality.

I accept defeat.  I accept that it’s no use trying to mold my life to fit an image I have in my head because the Universe has its own vision of how my life will be.  I accept that The Powers That Be, to use an Angel reference, have a plan as well, and that plan is the one that will ultimately unfold.

I’m not giving up on my dreams or my ambitions.  I’m not giving into self-pity.  I’m giving myself peace.