Today was my first day of class at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where I am pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree with a concentration in Aerospace Logistics. Assuming I am able to stay on track with my class schedule, I plan to complete the program in sixteen months.
It is normally a two-year program, and can be completed in one year if one is so inclined, but sixteen months has a nice ring to it.
Today is August 1st already? How did that happen?
OK, so it’s a rhetorical question obviously, but the perception of how fast this year is passing by feels faster than reality. I realize that the first five months of the year are a blur because I was laser-focused on finishing the last two classes of my master’s degree program, but both June and July passed by equally quickly. Maybe August sticks around for a while before we begin the slow slide into Fall…?
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to help pack a friend’s personal belongings as they prepare for an upcoming move to a new city and new apartment, and I was very intrigued by the variance of items that they have collected and retained over the years. I’m sure that every item has its own story or associated memory, or once had value that has long since dissipated.
The experience led me to think about how someone might feel if they were helping to pack up my personal belongings. What items hold value for me that would seem like just another piece of junk to them? I try not to be a packrat, and I go through my accumulated “stuff” on occasion to see what has since outlived its usefulness, but I’m now curious about how many items have managed to survive those occasional purges when they should have been used, recycled, donated, or simply thrown away years ago?
If something has remained unseen in a box in my garage for several years, does it still have sufficient “sentimental value” that justifies its continued residency or is it a candidate for appropriate disposal?
It is hard to believe that it is July 10 already – this year is flying by! Between the commitments of my fulltime job, and the rigors of completing a master’s degree, it was necessary for me to drop several personal activities from my daily/weekly routine, and blogging on this site was one of them. However, on May 31, I graduated from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University with a Master of Aeronautical Science degree, so I can scratch that off my bucket list. My work commitments have settled down a little too, so I am beginning to rebuild my personal life and getting back to those abandoned activities. At least some of them…not every abandoned activity offers sufficient value to engage in again.
I subscribe to the life principle that “if you want what you’ve never had, you need to do what you’ve never done”. I wanted to pursue that degree, and graduate in two years with a 4.0 GPA, and I achieved those goals. The path to my success was not easy, and there were many occasions during those two years when I questioned my motivations for pursuing the degree, sought excuses not to study that night, or wondered if the personal sacrifices that I was making were too much to ask.
Now post-degree, I am trying to enjoy my newly found leisure time (and my dog Sandy is thoroughly enjoying that her dad is now free to engage in nightly walks) but the beat of that life principle is continuous and unceasing. So I’m currently determining what else I’ve never had and now want, and deciding what I need to start doing in order to secure those things. Nevertheless, those nightly walks with Sandy are sacrosanct.
As a kid, I hated weeding with a passion. Mostly it was because I had no interest in weeding or gardening or being outside in general. I much preferred to read a book or watch TV. Additionally, I had no vested interest in the activity. As far as I was concerned, it was my dad’s vegetable garden and weeding any part of it gave me no satisfaction or personal pride. Plus, it seemed like such a pointless activity because within days the weed-free areas would be choked with weeds again.
As an adult with my own home, I actually enjoy weeding. Luckily, weeds don’t have much opportunity to grow (or thrive) in the hot Arizona sun, but this spring seems to have arrived quite early and weeds seem to be popping up everywhere. I pulled weeds two weeks ago and practically filled a grocery bag, and earlier today I filled half of a grocery bag weeding the same areas of the property!
I realize that I could simply spray the ground with a weed-killing product, but with three dogs I am hesitant to use liquid chemicals where they might come into contact with any weed killer residue. Plus, I have discovered a certain sense of satisfaction when I look up from my work and see how I’ve cleared an area of weeds. I have used liquid weed-killing sprays in the past but spraying a weed takes about as much time and effort as pulling it out of the ground and, unlike spraying, the area is weed-free when I am done with it. In contrast, it typically takes a weed-killing product several hours to kill a weed, and dead weeds seem to take forever to disappear. Pulling a weed removes it in a couple of seconds. I get outside, I get some fresh air, and I finish the project with a strong sense of personal satisfaction as a job well done.
That’s why I weed manually.
Occasional Change.org petitions attract my interest, and my signature. It is amazing how such a variety of subjects become petitions on that website, but it is also heartening to see how many changes have indeed occurred because of them.
Shortly after Thanksgiving last year (2014) I realized that I had signed yet another petition related to animal cruelty in the farming industry on the Change.org website but had yet to make any personal changes as a result of doing so. The catalyst for that realization was the text of the animal cruelty petition that I had just signed; the phrase “frightened birds” generated a mental image in my mind that I just couldn’t shake. So I decided that I would stop eating meat.
That decision has opened my eyes to how much meat features in our diet, in restaurant menu options, and in advertising, to name but three areas of life. Indeed, at a popular chain restaurant recently I counted four items on the menu that did not include some element of beef, chicken, bacon, fish, or other animal flesh, which is something I had never noticed before. I am not about to confine myself to eating salads for the rest of my life so I compromised…I selected the Chicken and Mushroom pasta dish and told the waitress that I wanted it without the chicken. She likely thought I was completely nuts, and I can only imagine what the kitchen staff thought of my modification to the dish, but the situation also gave me an opportunity to explain my reasoning for eschewing the chicken part of the meal.
On this Veteran’s Day 2013, there is only one thing to be said:
“Thank you for your service and sacrifices; it is very much appreciated and will not be forgotten.”