Thursday, February 23, 2006

Your Life Is Now

**Editor's Note: I attended a Rally for Higher Education yesterday and have much to say on the topic, but between the paper I'm trying to wrap up and the other things floating about in my head right now, I don't think that's going to happen tonight. Please check back for the article--I plan on posting a piece of it here and a piece of it over at Students for Grant.

When I was a kid I wanted a pair of rollerblades really bad. I thought I needed that pair of rollerblades more than I needed air. Nevermind the fact that I can't rollerblade... I finally got my pair of rollerblades and they were of all colors, pink. I hate pink. I hate pink so much that I almost won't even listen to the Aerosmith song. I wanted those rollerblades more than I had ever wanted anything in my life and yet when I had them they lived in a box under my bed until I finally just threw them out.

For four years now I have wanted to say something about the injustice of having one organization represent the two factions of assisted living--elderly and developmentally disabled. Now that I have said what I wanted to say, I wonder if what I wanted met the expectations I had created in my head. I don't regret it for a second, I'm not about to apologize for what I said, and I'll continue to say it. In recent weeks I have received both emails and phone calls regarding my stand on assisted living. There are those who praise, those who hope to defeat a voice that let me just say will not be defeated, and those who simply are calling to make sure I'm not going to throw the issue out like I did that pair of pink rollerblades.

Lately I've begun to realize that going after things the way I do is neither healthy or wise. I am always going, running, shooting for something else, never stopping long enough to enjoy what is right in front of me. I'm always moving on to the next thing. Like President Bartlet on The West Wing, I am always asking "what's next?" This week I've recovered from a long, crazy weekend, have been putting out fires on campus all day, and have tried to pull together an independent study project I've undertaken that seems to be blowing up in my face. I feel like I've been running in circles-- and as Nana in the Alex Cross series would say, "if you're running in circles you must be cutting corners somewhere." I guess I need to start looking for those corners I've cut that have put me in this place.

Tonight as I was driving home to grab some dinner I was listening to "Secret Garden" by Bruce Springsteen and a phrase popped out that really made me stop and think about this process I have: "you've gone a million miles, how far'd you get?" The Boss must have had me in mind when he wrote that one. I once wrote a poem centered around that phrase and yet every time I get in this running mode I forget how deeply important that phrase is to me. How often do we really take a second to think about what we're accomplishing in all our running? So I guess my only point tonight...if I had one at take a break (a break from all that political volunteering you must be doing) and remember that your life is now.

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