I am about to turn thirty-two years old in several weeks, and I will be enjoying my first Spring Break starting today. Yes, that's right. That opening sentence was correct. I'm thirty-two. Spring Break.
This is indeed happening. Ironically enough, I work in higher education, so my life has perpetually become segmented by semesters, and driven by things such as "J-term" and "summer vacation". It's a far cry from the missed opportunities during my undergraduate career which was committed to college baseball, and my graduate career which included me simply trying to finish in order to start my career.
And of course, as a professional, Spring Break just means no students are around, and it's an opportunity to take a breather before the stretch towards commencement.
Regardless, I leave on a plane for Miami, Florida this Spring Break. And for some reason, with that mid-semester pause, there is a part of me that realizes that I've gotten away from many of the thoughts and feelings that drive me to this blog, and rather, I've become filled with responding to the world around me.
I know, that's life. And truthfully, the older I become, the more awakened I am to how complex life is, how simple it should be, and how the stuff in between sucks. It sucks, like a lot. Am I right?
But as I am hours from boarding a plane to warm weather, hours from visiting my brother who I haven't seen in years, and of course, hours from taking in the World Baseball Classic at Marlins Park, this sudden break has given me an opportunity to stop to reevaluate the "problems" in life, and all of the worries, concern, and frustrations. Really, I've been able to just take in the better part of my growth as person.
When was the last time you did that? Truly, just stop everything that revolves and evolves in your life, and admire, evaluate, and reflect on it all. All of it. Every single thing.
Today, many of my students stopped in my office before they took off for Spring Break, and for the first time in a long time it reminded me of my growth as a leader, and overall, as a person. While the challenge becomes different as the age difference widens between me and them into my tenure in this profession, there is that unspoken and intangible satisfaction of knowing the impact you're making on the lives of others during a crucial time of their lives. It was just yesterday I had several conversations about social justice and other various issues with a few of them. Then of course, there are the moments they come into my office to simple share their success stories:
I killed midterms today!
Remember that guy I thought was cute, we're hanging out over break!
Just PR'ed squats today. Let's go!
Just PR'ed squats today. Let's go!
Or my favorite...
Dev, I accepted a job offer!
It still gets me every time.
For some reason, on my ride home, instead of diving into e-mails or readings for class (more on that pursuit later) I surfed through my instagram pictures, and realized, just from that thread, how far I've come. And really, my instagram account only dates back a few years! The opportunity to travel to so many places. See so many things. Continually seek and conquer the things my wife and I have on our bucket lists. Conquering my own personal challenges. Having and eventually gaining access to enjoy the various luxuries and privileges in a system that doesn't allow that to everyone - it's all just amazing to me. So amazing.
Even after life has thrown some curves my way, most notably my father's mental health, I honestly couldn't ever have imagined all of this. It's a long way from being poor and living in the one-bedroom basement apartment we did as kids.
It's a long way from doubting myself and my abilities as a leader.
It's a long way from viewing the world from a different lens - socioeconomically and socially - and now understanding the silver linings within all of that middle stuff that sucks so much, and the journey it presents and reflects.
It's an awesome process, especially if you evolve.
And with all of that said...I'm off to Spring Break. Imagine that?