ANNIVERSARY Countdown (Count-Up?)

Today is Friday, March 7th, 2014. We were married 986 days ago, on June 25th, 2011.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Tangled Months

The past couple of months have been a wild swirl of locations and tasks.  Middletown, Medford, New York, Grand Rapids, Washington DC... You name it, and if it's east of the Mississippi, at least one of us has been there in 2012.

But over dinner tonight, we compared schedules... and it's going to get worse for the next three months.  Aside from the regular weekly "commute" between three states, I'll be in Baltimore for a week, in Baltimore for another week, in Trenton for a week, and in Portland ME for a week.  Plus the end of the semester(s), the annual Academic Indicators Report, our accreditation annual report, finalizing a major national conference that I'm co-chairing, two separate retention studies, the late-May portfolio review (with probably 60-80 portfolios submitted), the ongoing curriculum planning, attempting to write a business plan, and other general life stuff, itself a suitcase currently overpacked.

If you want something done, ask a busy person.

A week ago, I was sitting in the airport with a friend, sharing stories of being the runner-up on various job searches (that's happened to me four times that I know of).  She relayed some research that shows that Olympic silver medalists are far more likely to be depressed than bronze medalists.  And that makes sense.  If you barely finish in the medals, it's likely that you might just as well have finished sixth, and you had a terrific effort on the right day.  But if you get the silver, you COULD have gotten a gold if... well, if what?  If you'd worked harder.  If you hadn't made a tactical error somewhere.  If you'd been born with one-half of one percent different DNA.  Who the hell knows, really?  But you certainly blame yourself for it.

That runner-up-ness doesn't keep an endless succession of people from asking me for help.  Running a national conference, for instance, while the organization is without leadership between executive directors; putting on workshops for faculty from schools across the country; serving on an accreditation review committee for a new college's initial accreditation; holding the accreditation success of my own college; seeing students in life crisis who come to me because they know that I listen to them; seeing colleagues in professional crisis who come to me because they know that I listen to them.  My office guest chair, and my e-mail inbox, are always occupied.

And if you're not the gold medalist, you never say no.  You always work harder, always take on another task, and another, and another. 

I dream of retirement.  A retirement in which I only work as hard as, and do the same things as, a college faculty member, teaching and doing the research and writing that I was trained to do and love to do.  A retirement of working in a single city for a single organization.  A retirement in which I live in the same house as my wife.  Or at least the same state.

{Editor's note:  Do you remember the apocrypha about how some Miss America chose, for the talent contest, her ability to pack a suitcase?  Well we can both qualify for Miss America's talent contest, though I think the swim suit segment might leave us out!  Of course, if we won, it would mean more travel.}

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