Sunday, May 29, 2011

schools out

So for me, school is over. I graduated on Friday. I've finally completed something I started way back in 1992, when I took my first graduate school class.

Friday morning, I met my fellow graduates in the gym by Homewood field. We helped each other figure out the mystery of how to wear a hood with our cap and gowns. A half hour before graduation we were still discussing classes, papers, professors. We were done, but the idea hadn't caught up to us yet, and we were still very much students together.

We marched across the astroturf, and through the tunnel set up for us. We joked, pointed out each others families, noticed how serious and young the other graduates were, the engineers and scientists. We settled in to our rows, fanning each other, cooling each other with water bottles. We listened to the speakers, although they seemed to be speaking to the other graduates. We were exhorted to solve the problems of climate change, and our planet. We asked each other if we could manage that with an essay or poem... We watched for our pictures on the huge video screens, applauded when one of us came into view.

We waited our turn. The other graduates walked solemnly across the stage. serious hand shakes, a quick pose for a photograph. degree after degree.

At last, our turn. Master of Arts in Liberal Arts. We got our hand shake, but also hugs, and a few tears. Back to our seats and a chance to relax a bit. We congratulated each other, and told each other how proud and happy we were to graduate together. And we meant it.

I got a piece of paper on Friday, a degree that says the University recognizes my achievement. But what I got for the last 5 years was worth much more -- a real community that will always be a part of me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

status update

so -- it's been 5 months since I looked at my progress on various fronts. I have lost 16 pounds since January 1. I am really pleased with my progress. I think I was successful this time because I was not alone in my attempt. Friends from work, and from online, were also trying to lose weight and we encouraged each other.

I have walked 3-5 days a week since January. I walk a very brisk 1.5 miles during lunch, usually with a couple of friends from work. This has reduced my stress level. I also don't get so sleepy in the afternoon.

I finished graduate school. I turned in my portfolio, and while it wasn't stellar, I thought it came out pretty well. I definitely was pleased, looking back at my experience, and at the work I'd done.

Work has gone well. I feel like I am learning and improving there as well.

I'm continuing to meditate every morning, and journal every day.

I feel more relaxed, more centered, healthier. I feel content.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

finding the balance

I have been struggling with the practical applications of my recent experiences. Simply put, I know things, so how do I apply what I know? We are all connected. What does that mean in my day to day life? I believe everyone does the best they can. No one tries to be an asshole. No one means to live a bad life (or they do and are so damaged they couldn't do otherwise). I find myself excusing the guy who cuts me off in traffic because he was probably late to his kids school, or if he's late to work he'll lose his job. I still get mad, but it fritters away to nothing. How much edge do I lose? Can i retain all my "self"? is a kinder, gentler me possible? would I still be me?

I think I will be struggling to find a balance for a while.