Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Playing Big

Two weeks ago, my institution brought in a rather well-known individual who offers workshops to help those of us dealing with students interact with them in a more meaningful way. To begin the three-day workshop, the question offered to the group was, "How big do you want to play?" While that question was geared for me to think about what I do as well as what I want to accomplish in the classroom, I've been thinking about it from the perspective of what I want to accomplish with Bike the US for MS. Over the last week or so, I've begun to realize just how big the fundraising and the ride are getting, way bigger than I am, and while it scares the heebie-jeebies out of me, I find the prospect of raising money for an excellent cause and then cycling almost 4000 miles for that cause incredibly exciting. For the first time in a long time, I have a sense of purpose on a daily basis.

Much of my waking hours are spent thinking about the fundraising, the upcoming ride, Mom, and MS. I've not yet mastered balancing all of this with work and family, but I'm getting there. Thankfully I have enough sense to know I need to create a cushion allowing me to breathe easy in regards to class materials, student papers, and other work-related items. Planning out the entire semester put a little more fluff into the cushion; getting right on student work when it is submitted, rather than waiting until the 11th hour, has also put some extra fluff into the cushion. Doing both of these things have allowed me to get in some quality spin time on the bike and quality family time when I arrive home in the evenings. Hopefully I can continue on this path for the next sixteen weeks, not only creating a balance between home, work, and the upcoming ride, but also making all three areas of my life more fulfilling.

The last couple of years I've been wavering about what I want to do when I grow up. I had begun to think I was ready to get out of the classroom, but I didn't know where I could go, what I could do. Now I think I've found the answer to the where and the what. I love being in the classroom. I want to stay right there. But now, I'm looking at being in the classroom in a different way: I want to play big by helping my students not only find the joy in writing but in learning in general. I love being with my family. I want to play big with them, using the evenings and weekends to find ways to come together more than we already are. And I've learned over the last three months that I can use the love I have for cycling to play big with MS. There are so many kind and generous people in this world who are willing to help. All I have to do is ask. I want to play big by raising money to use for MS research and by using my love of cycling to help those struggling with the effects of MS on their daily lives.

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