What I Learned This Fall (So Far)

Today marks the end of an incredibly busy seven weeks. Since September 12, I’ve:

  • Produced a fiery symposium on open access
  • Piloted two new workshops for a total of four teaching engagements
  • Attended a high school reunion in my hometown outside of Chicago
  • Enjoyed seeing my colleagues across the state at a work retreat
  • Spoke for an hour at a conference
  • Got out of dodge to celebrate a birthday
  • Planned and produced a full day conference on data privacy, online security, and related issues for NYC Digital Safety

I’ve been upstate six times, out on Long Island once, and in Chicagoland once. This weekend, I’m headed upstate again as part of my parents’ ceaseless appetite for travel. And then NYLA is coming up again in Saratoga Springs. And, of course, what would Thanksgiving be without seeing family? Off to Chicago I go (again)!

The good news is, today marks the end of public speaking for what I hope will be a long stretch. It’s time for me to balance all of this activity with a few things I’ve been neglecting. Namely: seeing friends, going to the gym, and practicing French horn on a daily basis.

As for the title of this post, here are a few things I’ve learned this fall (so far).

Maintaining a RoutineĀ 
Routines are very important to me. I don’t do super well without them. My early trips upstate to teach workshops set me off kilter, but by the end I learned how to have a pretty workable routine for traveling upstate. It involves the Metro North rail road, a super secret Hertz location, and a pit stop at Whole Foods in White Plains for provisions.

Having a routine even for the more upending portions of my life helps me feel much more grounded and settled. This is a good thing, as I’m often traveling for higher-stakes projects.

Learning To Just Be
A very shiny silver lining to everything that’s been going on is that I have no choice but to show up and be present. I haven’t had extra time to fret or worry. I haven’t had time to procrastinate. I just put my head down and did the work I could with the time that I had, and then I had to let go and just see what the universe had in store for me. In a way, I was able to experience a few mindfulness principles that had thus far eluded me.

Staying in Balance
Going forward, I think it will be important to avoid packing my schedule like this. I plan to put firm guidelines in place for days of the week that I can teach, a cap on the amount of trips per month, and the number of big events I can produce in a season.

Moreover, I’m looking forward to returning to homebody status. It’s good to keep things moving, only at a nice, gentle pace.