Hello, Old Friend.

IT LIVES.

 

In fact, it’s doing quite well.

I’m not sure what this block editor is all about, but hey, it’s been almost two years between posts, so why not try it out?

I’m stopping by because I have a lot on my mind lately and needed to write something down:

  • We bought a house and finally get keys today after a sixty-day rent-back period by the sellers.
  • It’s gray and rainy out.
  • Weightlifting is still fun but I need to do more cardio for my hEaRt HeALtH
  • What kind of snacks do brides pack on their wedding day? (We’re engaged and getting married in April, and there’s just a lot that I don’t know about throwing a wedding.)

Today, I’m mostly wondering about snacks. I guess I should think about bringing along some Epic Bars and Hi-Chews, some sparkling water, maybe some Cheez-Its.

Either way, I bought a tote bag that says “Bride” on it, so of course my inclination is to fill it with snacks. More to come…

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Routinely

I haven’t gone.

I used to tend to this blog regularly, making time to write and record my thoughts and musings several times a week. Without too much hesitation, I let you all in on my vulnerability, shortcomings, and loneliness; my excitement, achievements, and humor; and sometimes, just my nonsense.

Then I decided to put my energy elsewhere. I moved, I changed jobs, I met someone, I traveled, I adjusted my workout priorities, I traveled some more–in other words, life happened, and I had more time to spend being present rather than being reflective.

I miss writing, and it still feels good to put things down in written words, but things are good. They aren’t perfect. There are still days where I stress about what to do with my life, but as my colleague said yesterday, maybe the question I should be asking is, “What’s next?”

My life has been anything but linear and predictable. I still stress about uncertainty and the future, but that’s who I am. I still lament about being athletically talentless, but I’m having a fine time working on my weaknesses.

Also, I love my partner very much, but I leave my disastrous dating stories up here if only to serve as a reference for others who might be feeling the way I once did. Maybe it will help someone, after all.

I leave my projects and artifacts here to showcase where I came from as a graduate student and as a professional. I currently do not work in higher education, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that I’m able to research, analyze, compose, and assess.

I still dream of traveling, and I’m sure I’ll still recollect my journeys in one way or another–through writing or photos on various platforms. There’s so much to see and do still.

This all makes it sound like I’m closing down the blog. It’s not going anywhere, but I might, and I might not record it here. I’m not sure what’s next for my personal record-keeping. Maybe it’s just a layout change; maybe it’s a new site. We’ll just wait and see.

In the meantime, don’t wait up for me. There’s a world out there to explore.

 

Out of Left Field

“I’m a big fan of non-linear pathways.” – Ardith L. Feroglia, in many advising sessions

In that case, it should surprise no one that on October 2nd, I will leave my job at the University of Washington, take a week off, and then start a new position at Aduro in Redmond, WA. I accepted an account manager position and will continue to change lives (or crush dreams, maybe) by working on wellness programs and initiatives for clients (in a nutshell). I will also learn how to spell “initiatives” correctly on the first try.

Whoa, wait, hold up.

Did she just say she’s leaving higher education? As in, the realm for which she holds an advanced degree?

Oh. Well, yes. I will no longer be working within the context of a university; that part is true. I will be working in the private sector, and my line of work will be business-y and HR-y.

But.

Oh, there’s always a “but.”

There are many ways to be a student affairs professional. Everything I learned about: involvement, engagement, transition, health, wellness, balance, advising, culture, context, intent, impact, and on and on and on–all of it still matters.

Is it not true that if we, as #SApros, believe that learning happens outside of the classroom, then learning should also (and does also) happen outside of the campus? And outside of the context of formal education? And that by teaching people to think and to learn that they will hopefully go on to do that forever? Well, at the least, I think these things are true.

I remain an educator, but just like I never envisioned myself as a traditional teacher, I don’t want to be boxed in by someone else’s definition of what an educator is.

There are many ways to stay authentic and true to myself. I learn, I read, I seek out information. I step outside of what’s known and what’s comfortable. I consider, I dialogue, I wrestle with uncertainty. I expand on past experiences and knowledge. I build. I grow.

This is not a departure, just like leaving Clark College wasn’t closing the book on something; it was the continuation of a journey. That’s what this is, too.

I’m forever thankful for the smart, thoughtful, and (dare I say it?) passionate colleagues I’ve met at the UW, as well as the opportunity to work at one of the most well-known and respected public institutions out there. Beyond that, I’m thankful to have met and worked with the some truly wonderful students; they will go on to do great things. (We are truly the #bestmajorever.) 

And now it’s time to shake things up again. So here’s to learning way too much about the commute to the east side, to digging up my sleeping business skills, to finding new problems to solve, to meeting new people, to learning new things, to furthering my professional growth, and to trying to just enjoy the ride. 

As the late Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

 

A photo of two young academic advisers, one in active wear and the other in a pea pod costume, standing with a cardboard Michelle Obama

Hard to leave this behind!

 

Another Revolution

Well, I made it. I made it to 29.

My birthday was yesterday, and it was the perfect birthday for me, the me who’s lived nearly three decades now. I went to work and celebrated with donuts and lattes–little treats I don’t normally have. Then I struggled with an Excel chart until I flip-flopped some info and finally got the stupid thing to do what I wanted. I felt accomplished, as it was another treat to learn and figure out something new.

I left early, practicing balance and self-care; that was my present to myself. I decided on getting a haircut, and the stylist who saw me turned out to be a Filipino brother. We talked about food and our experiences growing up Filipino. Another unexpected treat, I’d say.

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I took a nap on the couch–one of my favorite things to do, and then made my way to the gym for my birthday WOD. It was a workout with some of my favorite things in CrossFit (not the med ball carries, though), appropriately timed for my age. Once I was done and rendered to nothing more than a sweaty mess, it was off to switch modes and try to put myself together for dinner with an absolutely fantastic guy.

The thing about me is I love my birthday. When JD asked about my preferences for my birthday dinner, he said I could either pick the place or he could choose something. I chose to be surprised, and I also chose to have the dinner spot kept a secret (note: I also love surprises… Surprises and a birthday?! Perfect.).

He chose well.

We headed downtown–after I flipped from sweaty mess up to more or less put together (I had on a dress!) in 45 minutes–and he hinted it was around Pike Place. I had not a clue what it could be, though so, the hint meant little. We parked and went looking for the place, as he had not been there before. We walked into Post Alley, past several quaint shops and some bars, and stopped at the end. We had almost decided to turn around when he remembered, “There isn’t a sign out front.” Next to an unmarked door on one of the buildings, there was a tiny business hours sign. We walked in, down the stairs, I still had no idea where we were, and JD confirmed with the hostess that he did have reservations at the restaurant in which we stood.

It was The Pink Door, an Italian-American restaurant/cabaret with a beautifully decorated interior that was rustic and sophisticated and dramatic and quaint and all sorts of different things all at once. It wasn’t too dark nor too bright; everything seemed just right.

Just right. That’s what I would say for the rest of the dinner date. The wine and food were both spot-on, and the company I had was even better. It was a nice, relaxed time, and I did, indeed, feel very special. Even when the waiter forgot my dessert’s candle–unlike all the other birthday girls around, whose cakes and tarts had candles. Our waiter realized he had forgotten (which really was no matter because the Cabaret Cake was so delectable), and brought out my candle on its own little plate.

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Take that, other birthday girls in the room!

All in all, 29 started very well. It was a day in which I felt loved–loved by others and myself. I look forward to exiting my twenties, to leave this decade behind, but I’m in no hurry. Like I did with every moment last night, I plan to savor these upcoming days.

I have a feeling that 29 will be just right.

PS – Thank you to everyone who made it such a great day, especially my swole mate and significant other, JD. (He’s just really great, you guys.)

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Birthday selfie! Whoo.

Time Flies

During the past two weeks, I was busy. At the end of July, I drove back to my hometown for my ten-year high school reunion, where many of my good friends were back in town. We all had the chance to reconnect with people we hadn’t seen in-person for quite some time, and I left feeling content. People from my graduating class grew up to be some really cool individuals, and I enjoyed having the opportunity to converse with so many people. I had some good conversations, including one where a classmate somewhat lamented that he had taken so long to decide to go back to college, but I was so excited to hear about it–and I might have slipped into student affairs pro mode for a second. It was also funny to hear people’s recollections of myself from a decade or so ago. I’d have to say the coolest thing I heard was that someone perceived me to be the type of person who was always talking to everyone, regardless of the group that person was in; they said it was no surprise I became an adviser.

Not surprisingly, given how much I post about this kind of thing, there were a lot of comments about my workouts and the crazy CrossFit things I do. They were all positive, but I do feel like I need to remind people that this “fitness nut” version of me didn’t happen until late in 2012. Then again, it’s the current me, and me for the foreseeable future, and I am certainly proud of the progress I’ve made. It’s become so central to my lifestyle. I did run into one of my classmates who was one of the voices that advocated for me to try CrossFit while I was still waffling about the whole thing, and when she asked, “Aren’t you glad you did?” all I could do was smile and say, “Hell yeah.”

Overall, I got to spend some time with my friends and family, got a few very good workouts in, and reconnected with good people. There was even a day trip to Chelan–and a sunburn for me, which is so rare in my world, I had nearly no idea of how to take care of myself.

Speaking of sun… I spent last weekend in sunny Seattle, mostly hanging out with the new boo. After finding out he had never experienced Stumptown Coffee‘s actual shops, I insisted that we go. He found the coffee more than acceptable, and after taking in some sun in my old neighborhood, we drove out to West Seattle and Alki–his old ‘hood. The next day, after the gym, we both went to Issaquah to my friends’ place, where all of us partook in running a beer mile. It was glorious and terrible all at once, but I survived and left in surprisingly good shape.

As you can see, this is not my greatest blog entry. I’ve glossed over many details, and I’m not concluding anything profound.

tl;dr – I went to my high school reunion; it was awesome. Also I spent last weekend hanging out with the awesome guy I’m seeing.

And if “tl;dr” is still too much, here are a smattering of pretty pictures for you. There are many, many more, and those of you that are Facebook friendsies can see the whole collection.

Enjoy.

At least I know how to clean up well.

At least I know how to clean up well.

This dress and I get along quite well.

This dress and I get along quite well.

Dolled up for our ten-year high school reunion.

Dolled up for our ten-year high school reunion.

That time we did that thing.

That time we did that thing.

Lady arms

Lady arms

Champs

Champs

Hawk Yeah.

Just a short post tonight in light of the recent Seahawks Super Bowl victory…

The “Seattle sports fan neurosis,” as a friend of mine said online, is real. Just look at this article, “Mediocrity, Followed by Bitter, Soul-Crushing Disappointment.” Growing up in the Northwest, you develop a type of defensive pessimism about the teams you love, which I think has bled into my personal attitudes about my own potential, whether that’s academic or in romance or whatever.

But then… a season like this happens. A season that really exemplifies a “Tell me I won’t” defiance. A season that showcases a city (and a region’s) pride in something that maybe is a metaphor for all of us in this grey little corner of the US.

Granted, I cautious of becoming too boastful, too prideful, too optimistic–but even so, the reward in challenging the naysayers has been so much more than a shiny trophy. Let that be the guiding principle from now on.

Go on. Tell me one more time that I won’t do it. That I can’t do it.

It seemed to work for these guys.

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(Sadly, none of these photos belong to me. They were all shared via the Hawk Nation Facebook page. I was working all day and couldn’t catch the parade in-person, unlike many of my other friends. Jealousy!)

The Week In

I’m currently sitting at my dining table, drinking what might possibly be the best hot chocolate I’ve ever made. Coconut milk, raw honey, cocoa powder, and a dash of cinnamon all together in one warming concoction.

I’m also currently sitting at my dining table in my new rental in Seattle, WA. I am Ardith Laverne, the young woman who is from many cities in the Pacific Northwest, but most recently from Portland, Oregon, which I left to move back to Seattle.

I knew when I made the decision to move back to Seattle that it would be tough. There are many things in Portland that I love. However, I also know that Seattle is where I need to continue my professional development, as well as the place where I can round out the remaining years in my twenties.

Someone at the gym tonight asked me if I split my time between the two cities after I explained my situation. I thought about it only for a second or two, and realized that yes, I do. Portland and Seattle are both home to me. It’s kind of difficult logistically, although it really isn’t that difficult. After all, on a map, the two cities are only inches apart.

I think roots are going to have to wait. There are so many different factors that can come into play, and I’m feeling like a leaf in the wind instead of a tree. I think a big part of it will be how this whole partnering business goes, so I remain open-minded to lots of different scenarios. In the meantime, all I have to worry about is myself, and anything can happen. (Exhibit A: moving back to Seattle.)

What I’m getting at–just over a week into my new situation and routine–is that I’m staring down the barrel of uncertainty again, but this time, it feels good. When I started my job search in the Seattle area, I asked for friends to think good thoughts. One friend wrote her thoughts out and shared them with me; she sent a message to the universe and said, “Only let this move happen if it is for the highest good.” In other words, let any move be only because the right things have aligned.

As a storyteller, I’m curious to know how this all turns out so that I can look back and turn it into narration. I want to retell the lessons learned, and I want to see how I learn to navigate my relationships in Seattle, Portland, and even my hometown. I want to explore my new city because it’s changed and I’ve changed since the last time I lived here.

But most of all, I’m hoping that this new chapter defies convention in many ways. I don’t like “normal plans,” and I have high hopes for the next few years. I have high hopes of finding beauty in strength, and finding out nothing is impossible, and that second-guessing myself never did me any good.

And on a related note, I PR’d my front squat tonight. 125lbs. (for 3 reps!). That’s my own body weight. And I got there by listening to those three key themes I just listed in the above paragraph.

If believing in those mantras works for CrossFit, well, I think it’ll work out just fine in life.

 

Cheers to the unknown.