Monday, April 07, 2008

New Horizons

Been a while since I've posted here. Hi.

Many things have happened during the last few weeks...nothing Earth-shattering, but all good toward making some progress. Mostly intangible progress, but progress nonetheless.

First, we re-arranged furniture at my on-campus office. I switched to a different space WITH A WINDOW!, but it had older furniture not made for someone who does a ton of technical work on the computer. Now, I have my old computer-friendly furniture in my new space. This all may seem minor in the scheme of life, I know, but I finally feel settled in, physically, into my new office at work. It really makes a big difference on a lot of different levels.

Next, I attended my first ACPA conference (American College Personnel Association). I have an elected position with one of the leadership groups within the association, and I have come to learn this was a great way to get involved. I also felt rather "seasoned" (another word for "old," I suppose, but not at all negative!) at this conference. It hit me that I've been in the higher education field for about 14 years (started the master's degree in 1994). I could walk around huge all-conference receptions by myself and invariably run into someone I knew from one or more of the places I've worked. This was a first for me. Also, it was the first conference I've attended in YEARS where I came away feeling energized and had numerous ideas I could bring back to adapt to my work.

Third, Wife and I have finally started making friends here in LSC. We've found a falling-off-the-left-edge-of-liberal church that we like here in town, joined the choir, and even had a nice Easter dinner with Becky and David at Chesterley, along with my mom who came to town for a visit. Wife has a few of her own friends from a support group she's joined. Also, Jason and I got together for lunch last week, and it was good to hang out with someone else who 'gets it' about kids with special needs.

Finally, I completed yet another purge of the home office/prison. I know, I know, my cleaning obsession is getting ridiculous. Readers of this diary know I hate filing, so I avoid it. As a result, things I need to keep pile up, even though I admit I do have plenty of file spaces. In our last house, I had several piles still left un-filed when I was packing to move. On my last night in SCT, good friends Julie and Kim & Michael finally just said, "Rob, we're packing the piles. Find a couple of boxes." So we packed the un-filed piles and moved them to the new place here in LSC. They've been sitting in a closet acting as a burden on my back, just like the dissertation. More piles had formed, and it was about to get to critical mass. I needed to clear off that burden before I could undo the burden of the dissertation. Besides, I sort of need to start "liking" my home office/prison again. And behold: Last weekend I cleaned it all up. It took forever, and I didn't get nearly as much time outside to tend to the yard as I would have liked. It's not perfect, and I still have a way to go. However, it's complete and functional, and it's a good lesson learned.

I need to keep this same attitude and energy toward the dissertation, and, heck, also toward a lot of the research I will conduct in this career. The old mantra carries through to many other things: "A completed dissertation is better than a perfect dissertation." Similarly, a clean, functional office space is better than a perfect Architectural Digest office space. I think I've been avoiding making progress on the office cleaning because I knew it could never be perfect, or even completed, in one weekend. What a crock. And true to form, once I got into it, it wasn't that tough. It was actually sort of enjoyable. And MAN do I know where EVERYTHING is located now.

I may be doing the same avoidance thing with the dissertation, but to a lesser extent because I am definitely making progress. I just need to ramp up the progress and strive more for completion than for perfection. Sort of feels like it's spring for my dissertation season, in addition for the lawn that's greening up as I write this. It's an exciting new horizon on the dissertation front, I think. Yay.


Anonymous said...

Wow, you actually SEE other bloggers, like, in MEATSPACE?! I don't think I could handle that, it would be like crossing the streams. I'm glad you're settling in, esp. with the church thing. Re: the mess, I've been recommending Getting Things Done by David Allen to people, it's $10 well spent.


Rob said...

OK, I had to Google "meatspace" to understand what the hell that meant(cyber-world term indicating something in the "real world")! LOL. I know, I know: hanging out with fellow bloggers...mind-boggling. Sorta like the time we all hung out in SCT last year...

Thanks for the recommendation on the Allen book!