Friday, January 18, 2013
I remember a former SJSU colleague popping into my office a few years back to announce, "Being 50 sucks." This guy was (and I'm sure still is) almost superhumanly fit and active. And here he was standing in the doorway, assuring me that the next decade will be filled with aching joints and cloudy thoughts. Joy. At least this decade has been a blast. I feel more comfortable in my own skin, less concerned about pleasing others, and I'm increasingly focused on challenges and opportunities that seemed invisible just a few years back.
Given that my birthday comes near the beginning of the year, I'm especially inclined to think of this day as an opportunity to look ahead. So far, 2013 is shaping up to be quite an adventure (though I hope it won't be as crushingly packed as its predecessor). I'm just about done working through a delightful holiday bout with pneumonia, a fighter that likes to sneak back into the ring after the bell's already been rung, and I'll soon submit grades for a winter public speaking course. Spring semester is coming. Time to clear the desk.
So what's next? Well, I've received a contract to co-author a book entitled Die ortlose Stadt: Die Virtualisierung des Urbanen [The placeless City: The Virtualization of the Urban - Yep, it's for a German press], I'm working with David Terry on an essay about rhetoric in the DPRK, and I'm collaborating with Kathleen McConnell on a project designed to help students think about writing as a form of navigation. The "Origami Urbanism" piece is in press, and, of course, I've got a gaggle of Humanities Honors lectures to write. My mind is spinning, but in a good way.
Travel plans, strangely, remain inchoate. I hope to spend a week or so somewhere on the road this spring, though I've yet to finalize an itinerary. I'm tentatively scheduled to lecture this summer in Austria - again, details remain to be ironed out - and I'm hoping that Jenny and I will take a side-trip to Russia for a week or so. I'm kinda bummed that there's no China travel in the near future (though looking at pictures of Beijing smog, I might be lucky to take a break from the PRC).
Anticipating the year to come, I've got to acknowledge that my plans wrap too tightly around professional objectives, not enough around friends and family. Sure, the various parts of my life overlap in occasionally surprising ways. And I simply can't imagine a meaningful divide between my work and some of my closest relationships. Still I hope to define myself less by the things I do and the places I go, to be someone who is more present with people. That's my goal at 45.