Blogging and maintaining an active social media presence while working in a professional capacity that is not related to the social media world is a delicate dance and one that frankly I am not always sure that I do well. In the non-profit world that I inhabit, appearances matter as funders and donors want to know they are making wise decisions and when an organization’s leader is openly online, that becomes a part of the package for better or worse. The result is over the past several years, I have learned quickly to mind my words. Yet in choosing to mind my words, I fear that sometimes I leave the wrong impression. So today, I am taking a moment to reflect on both 2013 which is drawing to a close as well as my first year of life in a new decade. I don’t say it often enough because in many ways the online world isn’t the place to share the joys of life but for today, I am feeling joyful because in many ways this year has been a new beginning for me.
I turned 40 in January and after several days of festivities to mark my transition to real adulthood; I was welcomed into real adulthood by learning that my Dad was critically ill. Long time readers may recall that I flew home for what seemed like the last time, almost certain that I would be once again making end of life arrangements for a parent. Well the big G, the universe, whatever you call it decided that it wasn’t time for my Dad to checkout and in an act that has mystified specialists at some of the best cancer treatment centers in the country, my Dad is fine. Though after a lifetime love affair with salt and pork, he has had to accept that the pig is no longer a friend, last I heard he still hates pork substitutes and isn’t cheating too much.
The almost loss of my dad, who is also my remaining parent and our family patriarch served as a springboard for my son’s musical career. In the tense weeks after my dad first took ill, my son channeled his feelings about our situation into a piece of music that took his career from hobby stage to professional level. This year, he has dropped several records/mix tapes, has been written up by way too many publications to list in this space, played the South by Southwest Interactive Festival and is living his dreams in our hometown while on break from college. I have seen my son fully come into manhood this year, as a parent this is what you live for, though I am still lobbying for a speedy return to college since he has less than a year left to get his undergraduate degree.
Professionally this year has been beyond exciting; I landed the job of my dreams in a fashion that indeed seems like a dream. I sent one resume, to one place, that was it! I had no expectations that I would get the job because in this economy, who applies to one job, two states away and actually gets the job? Yeah, I am still stunned. I won’t start my job though until January as the process of transitioning an organization from one leader to another is a carefully orchestrated dance. My decision to leave the organization that I have presided over for the past five years did lead to the board of directors deciding that after 16 years, it was time to close the agency. I am currently overseeing the professional funeral of a much beloved agency and it is painful. The closing will impact hundreds but over the past five years, I have used my voice to amplify the plight of the unseen. The result is there are now organizations far larger than my little one working to address heady issues such as childhood hunger and poverty. It is now widely understood that poverty doesn’t exist in a vacuum. My role was small, but knowing that my work made others aware means that even though I am closing the doors, our work will live on.
In other professional news, I contributed to not one but two anthologies, The Good Mother Myth which is being released next month by Seal Press and a collaborative self-published Her Stories Project. I took a chance and put on a Night with BGIM: Discussions on Race, Class and Life which was an amazing and edifying experience. In a bonus point, I made a new friend from the experience. While I won’t be repeating the experience in its entirety, I did just drop the contract in the mail to the Maine Humanities Council, who will be hosting a new series starting in 2014, where I and a TBD scholar will be talking about “Race in a Networked World” on March 5th, 2014 at Space Gallery in Portland, ME.
I can’t complain about my professional life other than as usual there is never quite enough money. Money is still tight (there is a reason, that tip jar is still on the sidebar) but things are on the upswing, hell we survived the several months of helping my Pops out without resorting to selling blood, I consider that a victory.
On a personal level, things are good. The Man Unit and I continue our journey, committed to working together, no matter where the road takes us and he is still my rock. He also has had an upward trajectory as well in his professional life but the powers to be are insistent that I keep mums on those details, but suffice to say it is good though he is really busy these days. The kiddo at home otherwise known as the girl child or girl almost tween (yikes!) continues to mesmerize as I wish that I had been comfortable in my skin at eight years as she is.
This body of a 40 year old woman thing though stumps me at times, I have learned that my days of eating, drinking, and doing whatever I want to my body are gone. This 40 year old woman needs a regular sleep schedule; I have also had to start moderating both my beloved coffee and wine. Too much of either is just not good anymore. Hell, even the spicy food is now getting sassy with my insides. Sure, I can mentally do whatever I want, but the price I pay the next day, just takes all the fun out of it. So I bow to the body.
Speaking of the body, this was the year where I got really serious about yoga, earlier this year, I completed a 100 hour immersion course where I learned that hot water and lemon in the morning really is delicious and keeps it all moving, if ya know what I mean. If a 100 hour course wasn’t enough, I took the plunge this fall and signed up for the 200 hour teacher training, but it turns out yoga teachers need to know a whole lotta stuff. Learning a new agency in a new city where you don’t even live while working your old job combined with a 200 hour teacher training and being a mom and partner turned out to be a bit much even for a recovering Type A like me, so completion of my teacher training is on hold. However my personal practice has grown as has the strength in my body. Which brings me to my last point of reflection, I am slowly coming to accept that the body I have now is the body I have. The body I had 10 years ago is gone and chances are she is never coming back, I won’t lie, this is a hard one for me but it is reality.
Looking back it turns out that 2013 wasn’t a bad year at all, in fact other than a pesky sinus infection that has been relentless and a cash flow problem, I really don’t have much to complain about at all. So how did you fare this year?