Like 56,000 other people, and thanks to the advice of my friend Allison, I subscribe to Penelope Trunk’s blog, Brazen Careerist. She gives great advice on careers and life (by sharing heavily about her own). While reading her heartily linked and meticulously organized blog makes me feel a little like I’m at the bottom of the Grand Canyon looking up, I am always inspired by her voice and insight on life. Today, I finally found the 9/11 post I had heard so much about; you should read it too. Maybe it’s that I’m also reading Elie Weisel’s Night with my students or that I saw Precious this weekend (leaving my heart a little tender), but Penelope’s way of describing that day made me tear up. After describing her survival, Trunk writes: “So, look, it’s true that I know what it’s like to be on one’s death bed. That saying that you never say, ‘I wish I worked harder.’ It’s absurd. You don’t have any thoughts like that at all. You just have your family in your heart. You see there is not a lot of room for stuff there. Your family takes up everything in those last seconds.”
Family has been on my mind lately; planning a wedding does that to you. My mom, sister, and niece drove down yesterday to get their dresses for the wedding, and saving the details on why for later, I’m honored to be a part of them.
This weekend I also read (per my friend Catherine’s great suggestion) “8 Reasons Rich People Hate Their Lives,” by Sonia Simone. Don’t let the title scare you away. The thing I took most from it was that life is about growth: it’s not about what you’re good at, but what you continue to get better at. As a teacher I see this tendency in my students to gravitate towards things they are ‘a natural’ at, and get defeated so quickly when it feels too challenging or unfamiliar. My goal is always for them to accomplish what they think is impossible; certainly I can have the same goal for myself. All of this gets me a little more ready to get back to my to-do to-be list.
My next post will be funny, I promise. Poignant is nice, but I think it’s run its course for now. I’m already making fun of myself for mentioning both 9/11 and the Holocaust in one post. To keep things in perspective, while I was doing all this reflecting and wedding business over the weekend, my fiance was discovering baby termites and rescuing a bee hive from inside a guy’s house he learned about on Craig’s List. These are now ‘our bees,’ he says. He loves to throw around those first person plural pronouns. It’s pretty cute, though he used the same technique to sell me on ‘our egg chair,’ and ‘our Rhodes piano.’