I didn't take this picture, obviously, and the trees in Golden currently don't have leaves on them (stupid trees; stupid leaves). Bright gray clouds have rolled in over the foothills, too, and are threatening snow (stupid snow; stupid winter). But this is basically what I see when I look outside my office window--my university's big M on a hillside. Ownership of the land, domination of nature, school pride, historical landmarks, all that jazz.
There are usually fools launching themselves off of that particular mountain, using paragliders and parasails and parawhatevers to land into our football field. I like to watch them sashaying in the wind as they descend, and I always hold my breath a bit until they've made it down safely.
This could also be a metaphor for a lot of the student writing I have to grade, but that's for another post.
I moved my desk the other day so that I could look out this window at work. Why in the world didn't I do this years ago? I don't love having my back to my open office door, which is required to face out the window, but on the other hand I seem to be getting interrupted less, so maybe that's okay, too. Most importantly, I can be in the sun while checking email. I can look up from stacks of paper and breathe a bit deeper.
I made official my resignation as managing editor of that journal I used to work for. I'm slowly wending my way through projects and thinking about which I really want to do, and how to make ones I am not totally sure about more my own. I feel so much happier and lighter, stronger and more myself. It's scary to turn down what seem like opportunities--after all, grasping at opportunities has made a lot of things happen for me. But it wasn't working for me anymore, doing other people's work, fitting into other people's projects. The anxiety over achieving has waned, and I need to find some other form of motivation. So now I'm trying out some things of my own--still working with others, but more on my terms. It's easier to say no to side streets and dark alleys when your own path forward is clear.
All this crystallized for me while reading Po Bronson's amazing book What Should I Do with My Life? I stumbled on it at the thrift store last week (thank you, universe, you serendipitous mofo) and it has answered so many questions for me about how to reinvigorate myself around work. I can't recommend it enough.
Speaking of literary type things, I've posted this on the blog before, and it's been taped to my printer all these years since I've been writing here, but I'm feeling particularly content and forward-looking today, so I'm posting it again. From that crazy old coot Robert Bly:
Things to Think
Think in ways you've never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you've ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.
Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged, or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he's carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you've never seen.
When someone knocks on the door, think that he's about
To give you something large: tell you you're forgiven,
Or that it's not necessary to work all the time, or that it's
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.
I mean, I just love that poem. I think it might be my favorite poem ever, and I usually refrain from picking favorites.