The last week of the year

This week is week 11 of this quarter, and marks not only the end of the quarter, but also the end of my first academic year at DePaul. Tomorrow is the graduation ceremony, and some of our students are leaving the nest to go start the rest of their lives. As they do that, I feel like I have moved on to another stage of mine.

It’s not yet a year since I moved to Chicago, that milestone will be hit in August. Yet, I do feel like I have gotten accustomed to this new life, somewhat by now. I saw accustomed, because it’s familiar to me, although I don’t feel like I have a routine quite yet.

The thing is though, I don’t like routines. I set a schedule for myself, I plan all activities on my planner, I keep everything extremly organized, and then I say “I don’t really feel like doing that today” and do something different. I go with the flow in the spur of the moment, and sometimes I regret it, because if I had stuck to the plan more would have probably been accomplished, but to be that rigid? It’s just not me.

I can get into a routine when it is called for by the activity. Like for example, a set class schedule, be it as a student or a teacher; if I have to be there, I will be there. Or when I’m in what I call my German-mode of action, the disciplined, hard-working, focussed, and relentless mode. In my German-mode I am completely self-disciplined and do what I set out to do like clock-work, or almost like clock-work. The trick is, I really have to decide to do that, seriously, and not half-heartedly, if not, I can’t get into that mode.

So, what I mean to say is that I am used to my life in Chicago and my work at DePaul by now, but I don’t have a set daily or even weekly routing. Every day seems to be different. The ones I accomplish everything on my to-do list for the day, in the order and in the exact times they were planned, I’m surprised and congratulate myself. Mostly, I get things accomplished, I check things off the list, but I also take much longer and wonder off on tangents, which is a little frustrating, but also makes it a little more me.

I like to enjoy the ride. And if I can make stops along the way and enjoy the scenery, I will. Will it take longer to get to the destination, yep. But the memories of the journey, the process, is what sticks to us in the end. The product, is shelved, ticked off, added to a list of accomplishments, of lived experiences. The process is what memories and stories are made of.

So as I end this year, I look back at the lived experiences, the ones on the to-do list and the ones that happened along the way. I’ve learned quite a bit from this first year here, I hope the learning sticks, and the experiences continue, as I navigate all the things that need to get done.

Here’s to a great beginning, and to those starting the rest of your lives, I have one piece of advice: Don’t let anyone ever make you question your self-worth, and for all that is good in the world, please shine! Be brilliant, be the best you can possibly be. Just shine!

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