I've been drifting, especially since Covid hit. For years, I've told students that the ones I worry about most aren't those who struggle---it's the ones who drift through four years of college without ever taking hold of anything. No passion. They may do okay, even get good grades, but there is nothing they are moving strongly towards.
And I've been feeling like that. Just waiting. Waiting on the vaccine. Waiting on life to restart.
After over 30 years of teaching, all I have been doing recently in my teaching is adding another layer of icing. I've worked on a few things---a couple of books for class, new technology for remote learning---but I've felt stagnant. Doing what I need to do has been enough, mostly.
But it isn't. Fortunately, things are starting to feel different.
A high point during the fall semester was our annual camping trip over midterm break. Alumnus and friend Tony Vorwald arranged an overnight canoe trip in Jackson County. Beautiful weather, a few students fishing, being awakened by a full moon shining through the tree canopy, and perfect weather for being on the river. Now that's the kind of drifting I can support!
This semester, I'm teaching an environmental policy class, and I'm loving it. New readings, great students. And I should give a shout-out to those students, some of whom have worked with me on local climate-change data---Sam, Lyndy, Taiana. They really kept me going through last summer's downtime. And they inspired me to teach the new course.
The research on local climate-change data has led me to involvement with the city, a lecture to an engineering company, a conference presentation to environmental educators, and a further research project with a student, Tyler, for this coming summer.
Over the holidays, a different type of inspiration came from Wim Hof, the Ice Man, and his breathwork and cold exposure. And learning about him led me to Yes Theory. And that led me to seeking discomfort. I'm eating better, losing weight, wearing a fitness band, and challenging myself a bit. In the photo below, I am in just my shorts out in the snow dumping the compost bin. Fortunately, no neighbors were out to report the crazy man in the backyard.
And here is the new motorcycle I'm about to purchase for touring:
I'm going out West once again. I plan to scatter my sister's ashes in Idaho. And I plan to go skydiving this summer, too.
The theme of all this is that I hope to come out of the Time of Covid actually healthier in most ways---my weight down (chart below), fitter physically, and more full of zest for life. For now, I'm guardedly optimistic.