Monday, January 21, 2013

Planning My Second Term

I watched the Inauguration and listened to a lot of the commentary on NPR. I was especially pleased with the Inaugural poem "One Day" by Richard Blanco. It was beautiful and struck the perfect chord. Throughout the day I have tried to imagine how I would feel if Mitt Romney was taking the oath instead. I would be sorely disappointed, but there is more to it than that and it was President Obama's speech which shows me why.

The calls of pundits and Republicans have vacillated between "jobs" and "deficit" but that's about as far as things have gone. When some other issue is brought up--guns, climate, and so on--I've heard that we have to do jobs or the deficit first. It's as if the government is capable of only one thing at a time.

President Obama called on us to do much more than just put people to work and balance the books. We are going to do both of those things, but at the same time we have to do much more. We have to dream big and we have to work together to achieve. It's not like we are hostage to one issue.

So government should be able to do more than one thing at a time. Meanwhile everything I read says that for personal change I have to focus on one thing. It's good advice. If I concentrate on one new thing, I'm likely to turn it into a real habit and, along the way, work out a few other things just by association. It makes perfect sense, yet I struggle with it. I want to change many things all at once even though I know that approach doesn't work. It comes down to not knowing what one habit to work on.

I've created this habit of writing 750 words each day and posting them online. It's good habit and has served me well. I think a little straighter and have more patience. I don't plan to stop.

So what's the next habit?

The President's speech has been characterized as his most progressive yet. He seems to have a sense of what must be done. I'm not sure he knows yet how to get all of it accomplished, but he has a vision. I don't have that vision yet. I'm all over the map and have been for a long time. I like to write, run, teach, read, and play with computers. I like to do a thousand other things. I'm not sure I have one calling. It would be really nice if I did.

In lieu of that, I'll keep writing since that feels as close to a calling as anything. As soon as my doctor clears me, I'll run. Week after this I'll go back to teaching. I'll read the book I took from the library. And I always play with computers. Maybe the solution isn't to pick one. This probably isn't multiple choice. Instead, maybe it's simply a matter of pushing each one a little farther.

Today I wrote a poem and a couple thousand words of journal stuff. When I get back to running, I really feel like I could go beyond a marathon. In teaching, I miss the theory of it, the reading deeply into practice. I have a good book of poetry right here that I'll dive into along with the novel upstairs. And I'm beginning to see where I want to go with technology. (Hint: it has to do with writing.)

The government should embrace a big agenda. Maybe I should too, but in such a way that I also stick to the one-change-at-a-time philosophy. I don't know exactly how to go forward. I don't even have my thoughts straight yet. That's okay because I know one thing for sure and that's that I'll figure it out if I just write on.