Today I woke up, and for the first time in 12 years, didn't have a job. I've been unemployed before, but with plans or arrangements for a new job already made. Not this time. I really don't have a job.
On the #SED2011 #NASATweetup Bus
I am the Formal Education Lead on the Education and Public Outreach team for the Solar Dynamics Observatory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. At least I will be, until the 17th of May. I’ve decided to move on, but I feel like the significant impact this phase has had on my life deserves some reflection, and a whole lot of gratitude. I’ve changed, almost completely, since my time at Goddard began. The things I have been able to do, the people I’ve met, and places I’ve gone while in this job catalyzed that change. My time at NASA opened doors for me and then taught me how to walk through them. My life is overwhelmingly richer for having been here. The depth of my thankfulness for all I’ve learned is overwhelming me as I write this, so excuse me if this post gets mushy, but some of these things just need to be shared.
*I stole the vast majority of these photos. If one of them is yours, I'm sorry.
Not quite camo...
I had a rather overwhelming moment a few days ago. A few things hit me all at once: I’m moving 3,000 miles away from my family; I won’t have most of my things anymore; I don’t have a steady income; lots of my personal relationships have changed, and some people I’ve lost entirely. After letting all of that sink in, I felt a bit displaced. So far I’ve been resolute in maintaining my “live life to it’s fullest” attitude, knowing that all this change is helping me do that. But keeping that attitude sometimes means pushing back the feelings of loss and uncertainty that come with big changes. You can’t push them back forever, as I learned last week, eventually they will rush up and demand to be dealt with. So how exactly do you deal with them? How do you find ground when you are intentionally leaving it? How do you make a home when you don’t have one any more?
Look! A book review! I think this means my blog is becoming one of substance… “deep” if you will. Next thing you know I’ll be interviewing people…
Lately I’ve found myself questioning just about every aspect of my life. From belief structures to habits – this new phase of boldness has empowered me to explore beyond my comfort zone. Lots of this exploration has happened through reading, something I used to take a lot of pleasure in, but lost the habit of when school and work pressures increased. It only makes sense that in this time of new beginnings and re-invention that I’d pick it up again.
My latest (whole) book accomplishment is “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, recommended by Amy of Expand Outdoors (thank you Amy!). Here I will try my best to do it justice. What you really ought to do is just go buy a copy for yourself, but if you need convincing, here I go…
I think this Boldness thing is going to turn into a heading for the whole moving across the country project...
I'm sentimental. How sentimental I didn't realize until recently. I found a scrap book with ticket stubs and other paper treasures from 7 years ago, and a whole drawer of trinkets from events I've attended that I just can't seem to part with.
I've been struggling for a while with a desire to live a minimalistic lifestyle, and the desire to preserve memories. There is something about an uncluttered life that really appeals to me. The ability to pack up and move whenever you want. Having few things to care for. Your space being cleaner, for the most part. I like all of that. I also like knowing that my kids will be able to see the NASA Tweetup badges I've collected, and the ticket stubs from my trips overseas. With my big cross country relocation happening rather soon, I need to figure out how to find a balance.
Here is what I'm learning.
adj. bold·er, bold·est
1. Fearless and daring; courageous.
2. Requiring or exhibiting courage and bravery.
3. Unduly forward and brazen; impudent: a bold, sassy child.
4. Clear and distinct to the eye; conspicuous: a bold handwriting.
5. Steep or abrupt in grade or terrain: bold cliffs.
A lot of people talk about being brave. Some things in life require bravery. Talking to that guy/girl, applying for that job, saving that baby from a grizzly bear. Bravery or courage is about doing what is right in spite of fear or opposition. Bravery is good.
But I prefer boldness.
Around the campfire at Jtree
Every year I write and reflect. It's one of the few habits I have that I'm proud of.
I can go back to my first blog and read my resolutions from 2002, and I can go back on paper and find them from years earlier.
I'm a firm believer that reflection is the only way to make progress. Unless you take the time to see where you've been, how can you know where you are going, much less control or change it?
I've picked a climb!
On July 17th 2011 I will start a 5 day trek into the Wind River Mountain Range to summit the Wyoming high point: Gannett Peak.
Almost one year ago I entered the Champion "What's Your Everest?" contest. Their question was, "What would you overcome if you had the means?" While I have lots of issues (we all know this) I chose to address my fear of heights. Climbing can be expensive, and east coast is a bit "low" compared to the mountains you find out west. I'd use the prize money to give myself opportunities to overcome my fear through exposure and training. Through Twitter I heard about an organization called Summit for Someone. #cuemusic It was perfect.
I've been looking forward to this trip since I found out that ASP would be held in Boulder in 2010. I love Colorado. I'm looking forward to meeting my twitter friends, and to spending some quality time on real rock. Mostly though I'm here to search for some peace. My life has been a bit muddy for the last several months, and I'd love to let the mountain air still those waters and give me clear vision.
I woke up to an email this morning from an inspired friend. He has a way with words, and I thought I'd share what he wrote since I know I've felt exactly this many many times before but have been at a loss to describe it. My most recent "moment" was this past weekend at Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. I haven't seen the sky that black in a long time. I saw three satellites pass overhead and watched the milky way blur on the horizon. My friend was in North Carolina when he wrote the poem below. Where were you the last time you let the sky swallow you whole?
Migrant Science Teacher
Rock Climbing Nerd