According to WordPress, the first anniversary of my blog was September 14, but I didn’t publish my first post until a year ago today, November 2. So this is the day I’m celebrating as the one-year anniversary of my blog.
For the first five months of blogging, I posted twice a week on a pretty regular schedule–Tuesdays and Fridays. Occasionally, things would be adjusted a day or two from that, but in general, I was consistent. In April, I started falling off the schedule for reasons that don’t really matter. The fact is that after just four posts in April, I would not post again until September. For four months, the number of my posts stood at 49.
Many things changed for me over the summer–primarily the way I think about things, and I knew the blog would make a comeback. In September, I slowly started again, finishing the month with five posts. Then, late in September, I saw an invitation to participate in a 31-day blog challenge. I snapped it up. You can read about my actual experience and what I learned from that challenge in an upcoming post, but the bottom line is that I made it–31 posts in 31 days. And it has led to new discoveries about myself, about what I want, and about what intentions I will make for myself over the next year.
As I begin my second year of blogging, I have expanded my vision about what this blog can be–about what my life can be. I’m less concerned about figuring out a specific identity for it or limiting the ideas and themes that I explore. I want to be open and just see where it takes me. I want to dream big, so that when I look back on my second year of blogging, I may just discover that my life exceeds anything I could have imagined.
As some of you may know, I did a blog challenge in October. For November and December, I’ve joined a quilt-along (cutting fabric later today–YAY!). Last week, I joined Curves for a two-month trial to see if it will work for me and my artificial knee. All of these things are about taking time for me, something which I haven’t been very good at in the past, something I want to change. My first post in October was all about Taking Time for Me, and I am moving well in that direction.
This is because I have a problem with taking on too much, especially at work. If a project interests me, and I have the skills or expertise to do something about it, I’m in, usually without thinking. It doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to realize that this tendency can lead to trouble, especially when several of those projects collide in terms of deadlines or the necessary focus and attention they need. Let me give you just a few examples.
Most people at our university, if they teach writing at all, they only teach one section, maybe two because it is so work intensive. I teach both first year (1 section) and second year (3 sections) writing courses to English majors. I also coordinate the first year program. (Yes, I’m insane, but I love writing, and I love helping people find their voice.) This kind of work really feels like my niche. But of course, it’s only half of my course load. I also teach three sections of general English to students from other majors. Which leads to #2.
Our University uses in-house textbooks for our general English program. Since students are required to take four years of English (focused on all four skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing), there are eight books in this series, one per semester. We are currently in the process of producing new books to replace the series that is nearly 15 years old. And when I say “we,” I mean that I am the coordinator of this project. I have completed one book so far, with two more in active production. Five to go! Insanity, but I brought it on myself.
This year, I serve as the advisor on three senior research graduation projects for three groups of English majors. One group has four members, the other two have two members each. I’ll spare you the details, but it does eat up a chunk of time.
The teaching alone could keep me more than busy, in addition to the research that I am doing, but I’m committed to these other projects. I accept that, and I work somewhat consistently on moving forward on them without stressing too much. But it’s only been recently that I’ve managed to get that stress thing under control. As part of that effort, I made a series of intentions to take time for myself and to take care of myself. Sometimes, it feels like taking this time makes things more complicated, as when I sometimes put the blog challenge ahead of other things I could (in the past I would have said “should”) be doing. But the things I’m now doing for me are changing the way I feel about everything in my life. After the experience of the blog challenge and preparing for the quilt-along, I would never go back to the way things were a few months ago. I like this new direction, this new way of thinking, the way I can reimagine my life. It just takes time.
I can credit my work with Farther to Go! with this transformation in the way I think about things. I now view my life (n general) and my over commitment to work (specifically) in a while new way. I can’t change everything all at once. But bit by bit, I’m taking my life back and making my decisions and activities more intentional. In the meantime, even while things are still crazy, I am less stressed, and I have hope for a calmer schedule in the not-too-distant future.