Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Endings and Beginnings
I’ve read a lot of blogging lately about impotence (writing related, not the other kind *g* ), writing schedules, letting go and being a good mother. Somehow, guilt always seems to factor into the equation.
Let me set your worried minds at ease. Waiting won’t kill you and your life won’t end if you take a morning or even a whole day away from writing and instead spend the time watching kid movies. Relaxing is actually good for your blood pressure, and if you weren’t a good mother, the authorities would have figured it out by now and knocked on your front door.
There’s too much worry in the world – myself included. And I’m trying to get a handle on it before it gets a grip on me.
Last weekend we had a big ending in our family. #2 son graduated from college. His degree is in Business Administration with a Law minor. He had a stellar athletic career during his university days that was capped off with a conference championship and MPV award two weeks ago. Now he has a new beginning as a college graduate.
We’re not quite sure what that beginning is going to be. His graduate school plans sort of got shanghaied when someone entered the coaching program unexpectedly and took the graduate assistantship slot he was hoping to get. He’s looking at his options and while I’m concerned about his future, he’s a big boy now and I have to trust that he will make the right decisions.
The graduation ceremony had the usual speeches but one in particular really caught my attention. The Alumni Association presented a distinguished service award to Dr. Frances Owl-Smith, the first female member of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation to become a medical doctor. She entered college at age 29 as a non-traditional student and graduated four years later with a degree in medical technology. She then entered medical school and is now a practicing pathologist in a town near the university.
Her message to the students was this: Even if you win the rat race, you’re still a rat. That line got quite a round of laughter from the graduates, but you could see quite a few parents nodding in agreement.
Dr. Owl-Smith then advised them to “get a life.” Careers are wonderful and she challenged them to do well in their chosen fields. But she also told them that in addition to doing well, they should do good. They should strive to make their community, their state, their country and their world a better place. Getting a life can be picking up trash along the roadside near your home. It can involve volunteering for any number of agencies who desperately need not only dollars but warm bodies to help. It can be reading to a small child and instilling the love of the written word in that still-developing brain.
So for those of you who are feeling helpless, pressured, unplugged or just frustrated in general, stop, take a deep breath, go outside and listen to the birds sing and say a little thanks for your blessings.
E-mail your best buddy or get together with your best friend or friends and take a little break from that rat race I mentioned earlier. I know it’s not always easy, especially when you have a deadline to meet. Whether self-imposed or set by your editor, it can usually survive a short break. Heck, it might be a benefit if it means getting your head screwed back on straight.
I tend to get a little preachy in here sometimes. I think it probably stems from weathering thirty-three years of marriage and the notches I’ve carved in the steering wheel after traveling the teen years with two sons. I’ll climb down off my high horse now. The saddle is beginning to chafe a little anyways.
Just as Dr. Owl-Smith was a non-traditional student, I look at myself as a non-traditional writer. Unlike the rest of the Playfriends, I got into this late in life. My passion for publication and devotion to writing is not nearly as strong as theirs. I admire them every day for their hard work and thank the good Lord that they included an old rat with an arthritic toe and a bum shoulder into their playground.
Do well, but also do good. I won’t put you on the spot by asking what you’ve done good lately, but if time and money were no object, what good would you do?
Posted by Playground Monitor at 5/10/2006 12:33:00 AM