I first heard of Pelotonia in the fall of 2009. My wife and I even discussed my interest in riding in it in several years. Life, it seemed, was too busy for that commitment. We were finishing master’s degrees, planning to buy a house, and talking about starting a family.
One year later she was tired, in pain, not hungry. We began to visit doctors.
She passed away the next spring – 46 days after she was diagnosed with cancer.
I ride for Jess. And so that others, someday, do not need to walk the path that she, I, and our friends and family have had to tread. Please consider supporting my ride. You may access my rider page to make a donation through clarkspot.com/ride. Thank you.
(adapted from handwritten notes in June 2011)
One other item has been on my head lately. This is a saying that’s practically a motto for a place I’ve worked. I don’t know how many times this year I’ve heard this said. I’ve started saying it and repeating it just out of hearing it over and over. But I’ve found it helpful. Some things can’t be controlled. You have to let some stuff go. Worry about what you can control. The larger picture, sometimes, is something less than ideal, and you have to work with it.
On Friday June 3, 2011, a friend posted this statement (it is what it is) on Facebook. I liked it without giving it much thought because I’ve found it useful. I left a comment as well. Shortly afterward, she posted how much she didn’t like the phrase because it’s a sign that she had given up and was settling. That bugged me.
I don’t like the idea of settling. I never have. I think I’ve learned, however, that some things can be controlled and some things cannot. It isn’t settling to realize that you don’t get to shape the whole world. It’s being realistic, and it’s letting you turn your attention to other things that you can control and that *might* be more important to you. Shouldn’t I focus my attention on taking care of my home, discovering new things in my neighborhood, taking care of my wife’s affairs, developing new hobbies, finding new friends, helping others, and my personal happiness and welfare? That’s what I’ve taken this saying to mean. I remain the master of my fate and the captain of my soul. I’m just not going to try to be the master and captain of everything else around me. I can still impact it, I still have free will, and I still can make an incredible contribution to all sorts of stuff around me. This isn’t giving up. It’s deciding that I’m comfortable letting some things be what they are so I can devote my limited resources and time to improving and affecting other things.
I’ve finished my graduate degree, and I’ve started a new challenge. I’m sure I’ll continue to learn more about my new position in the coming weeks and months – 6 weeks of training start next week. I’ve been able to help out so far by watching some editing and asking a few questions about style, grammar, and jargon. It’s a great way to learn.
In the meantime, Franchise and I have welcomed a new member to the family – an HP laptop. My files have been migrated and I’m doggedly pursuing one of my New Year’s resolutions – being more organized – by getting rid of duplicates and unnecessary files. Once that’s wrapped up, you’ll see me on here a lot more.
Jessica always has ravioli for the holidays
The daily calendar that sits on my desk is getting thin. Another year is wrapping up. Jess suggested including our blog addresses in the Christmas letter and writing our own notes online. You must have liked the idea.
As I first starting writing this post, Jessica and I just finished making ravioli for Christmas Eve. You can see some of our results pre-clean-up. The homemade goods are a family tradition that we’ve kept up – along with my family’s meatballs when we put up the tree.
This past year has been one filled with hard work. I dove into the remaining coursework I had to do to complete my graduate degree – finishing almost 60 percent of my classes this year. I’m looking forward to reading for pleasure again – and tackling projects that aren’t due at the end of the semester.
We cut back on trips – visiting Washington, D.C. twice, Columbus once, and Atlantic City once. We also returned to St. Marys for Thanksgiving. Yes, that’s a light year of trips – only five states, counting the one where I live. This might be the fewest number of states I visited in a year since high school.
I completed my second term as president of the local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. My final meeting brought out the largest turnout of chapter members in the last decade. We elected a new slate of officers, and they’ll do a great job taking over the chapter. I’m glad that I was able to stablize the chapter’s finances, recruit a new team of officers (and provide them with all the relevant information about the duties of their office), and overhaul and update the chapter roster. I’ve also continued and expanded my work with the Lackawanna Historical Society. I produce the Society’s quarterly newsletter, and I helped organize a database of previous newsletters as well as preparing program brochures for several events this past year.
Want to see more of what we did this year? Check out Jessica’s holiday post.