Life is such an interesting mix of change and stability, isn’t it? I was thinking about this this morning, as I contemplated the end of yet another semester. (Side note: how on earth do they go so fast? Every semester seems interminable at the beginning, then it’s like the days and weeks go into warp speed and before you know it, you’re entering final grades, again. Anyway…)
My life is such an interesting mix of change and stability. I suspect most peoples’ lives are like this, but it becomes even more evident for me at this time of year, when the end of the semester approaches. My life is built around the academic calendar, not the Gregorian calendar. To me, the year starts in mid-August, when faculty ramp up their prep for the start of a new semester, and the new students arrive on campus. There is an excitement in the air that I suspect most people feel in January – a feeling of new beginnings, anticipation of new relationships, learning new things, discovering new paths in life.
And every year I am blown away by just how much I learn and grow each semester. Every group of students – every conference and presentation – offers a treasure trove of new ideas to contemplate. Every class that I teach provides me with unparalleled opportunities to learn from my students. Experiences – even those I dread ahead of time – nearly always lead to at least one revelation. Although I will say that the one piece of my life that doesn’t lead to these revelations is the endless meetings… but I digress.
Yet there is so much stability to my life, too. Most of my job – the responsibilities, the projects, the studies – provides the solid foundation that I need to explore all the new ideas, new knowledge, new ways of thinking. Maybe the details change year-to-year, but the core remains unchanged.
One of the reasons I love this life so much is that it allows me to recapture how I felt growing up – I had the solid foundation of a supportive and loving family, a stable home. Yet I also had so many opportunities to grow, to learn, to change my way of thinking. That combination is so important to how we grow and develop as humans, and I know how lucky I was to have it in abundance.
So as the end of the semester approaches, I’m thankful, again, for the opportunity to have a life where my curiosity, my need for learning, are also supported by the stable foundation of the rest of my job and my life. It’s what keeps me going, what motivates me to bring my all to each class, each project or study or initiative. I’m off to teach my last class of the semester, where I will (once again) thank the students for teaching me so much. And I’ll start looking forward to what I will learn when things ramp up again in January. Change and stability…