Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Moving Forward


I'm looking at my desk and most of it is several inches deep in paper that I need to attend to. I have spent the past twenty minutes working at it and still there is so much to do. It is disheartening. There is some clear space that should give me hope, but I find that it's not enough to outweigh the anxiety I feel about the remaining stacks of paper. They are all things that have to get done, that should have gotten done, that I'll have to do. It's enough to send me into a bit of a panic if I'm not careful. If I forget to breathe.

So it goes in this life. I remember when I started with my current therapist. This was five years ago and among the first things we talked about was that I wanted to reach my destination. I felt like I hadn't achieved the things that I needed to achieve. I needed to get there already. We began by asking what my destination might be. I had no idea. That was my first clue as to what was going on. We then spent months getting me to understand that life is a journey with only one final destination, Hamlet's undiscovered country. I shouldn't rush to get there. That there is no other destination depressed me (still does), but it shouldn't. I arrive at destinations all the time, but then I have to keep pushing on to the next thing.

Perhaps I'm stating the obvious, but it has been anything but obvious to me. I look at my desk and think, "If I could just get it clear, if I could just get all that work done..." but the ellipses at the end of that quote is where I should concentrate. What comes at the end of getting that work done? I can get that work done and I will as soon as I'm done with this writing, but then I will then spend the day teaching and end up with more to do. There may be large stacks of paper in the exact same places on my desk. This is how life goes. I can't keep the desk clear, I can't finish all of my work, I can't get to a point in my growth where I can stop. That's okay if I simply acknowledge that it's okay. Fighting against it causes panic. Working through it encourages growth.

Today marks the end of my first month of publishing on this blog. Last night, a friend said, "you've been doing a lot of writing lately." He checks in here regularly, which is nice of him. I said that I had been doing a lot of writing and that now I'm ready to think of ways to better focus that writing. It's time to elevate the game. It's time to work through what I'm doing and grow in it.

I started yesterday revising my entries. I'm pretty good at first-draft writing, but getting to a second or third draft will make things more applicable to an audience. Already, in the second pass, I've tightened this piece considerably.

I'll shift my writing about schools and teaching to another blog so this one is more focused. I still need to figure out exactly what this blog is about. I have a feeling about it, but don't know exactly. Maybe after another month of writing I'll have that down. Maybe I'll have to keep writing.

This morning the sun is peeking through the spaces between clouds. I can see large patches of blue sky. This is unusual in Syracuse. Already, the clouds are moving fast. The weather report predicts rain, maybe snow, and falling temperatures throughout the afternoon. My own weather report predicts a clearer desk and then clutter increasing over the course of the day. There will be more work to do, more things to figure out, and challenges of every kind. Some of them I'll master and others will, at least for a time, master me. The only thing to do is to keep going. Or, to put it another way, and to sign off for the month of November, all I can do is write on.