Skip to main content

A New Year's Toast (that fits my life)


This is from Louis Schmier, professor and philosophizer extraordinaire. He describes how he will toast the new year. (To read his whole blog post, go here.)
"I'll pour a quiet glass of champagne then or on 2010 January's first day and lift it to this coming year's surprises, to all the coming unawares, to the inevitable reshuffling of the deck, to the complexity of it all, to what I cannot now know, to what I cannot now guess, to what I have no clue, to what I cannot now control, to what I cannot now guarantee, to the out-of-the-blue bolt of lightning, to the unpredicted, to the unexpected, to the unfamiliar, to the without warning, to the out of nowhere, to the unforeseen, to never stepping into either the same river or class, to all the twists and turns in life's road that will keep me from falling asleep at the wheel, to the unplanned interruptions that like an earthquake will shake me from the doldrums of routine, to the as yet unknown challenges that will keep me from atrophying, and to the unanticipated adventures that will keep me questing for truer answers."
Later in his post, he goes on to say:
"But, as M. Scott Peck had once said, our shining moments are more likely to occur when we are deeply shaken from our smug comfort and complacency. After all, what else but "new" can teach me lessons from the rich experiences of everyday life, pose alternatives thoughts and feelings and actions, alter courses, transform hopelessness into hopeful, disbelief into belief, resignation into expectation, an ugly "ugh" into a beautiful "wow, "blah into spirited, unhappiness into bliss, dream into real, plod into dance, "no" into a "yes," numbness into aware, pessimism into optimism, and callousness into love? What else would keep me better focused on and moving towards my vision, as well as working my way there? What else would offer me a tool to avert being hypnotized into sleep walking into class and teaching in my sleep? What else would stimulate my mind, heart, and soul? What else would keep every fiber of my being on full alert? What else would rouse my curiosity? What else would fuel my imagination and creativity? What else would give me the chance to sow, blossom, and ripen? What else would give me an opening to become a better person? What other occasions would be as exciting, adventurous, enriching, satisfying, meaningful, and significant?"

So, will you raise your glass with me? Here's to the wondrous blessings of discomforting serendipity in the coming New Year! See you and talk to you all in 2010! May you each be joyful and blessed in the inevitable coming unknowns of the New Year!!"

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"ABD" -- what does it really mean?

I thought I knew what the definition of ABD was. It was exactly the same as defined here in Carnegie Mellon's University Doctoral Candidate Policies for All But Dissertation (ABD) : After the completion of all formal degree requirements other than the completion of and approval of the doctoral dissertation and the public final examination, doctoral candidates shall be regarded as All But Dissertation(ABD). I have, though, occasionally run into the term ABD being used as a somewhat disparaging designation for one who fulfills the formal degree requirements of the Ph.D. but never finishes the dissertation, and then quits the program. Most recently, I saw it in What They Didn' t Teach You in Graduate School: 199 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career , by Paul Gray and David E. Drew. Number 9 of their helpful hints is one that I strongly agree with: "Remember that a Ph.D. is primarily an indication of survivorship." They go on to say, "You stuck w

The Second Holiday Writing Challenge for Academics

Here's a little boost for those who need a little kickstart to write over the holidays.  I first offered a Holiday Writing Challenge  back in 2005, so I'd say it's about time to do it again. Here's what you do: Post in the comment section: what you'd like to work on (if anything) over the holidays, and the maximum amount of time you'd like to spend on it daily . Please keep this time limit reasonable and low unless you're under huge deadline pressure -- in which case you don't need this challenge in order to get something done! Whether you're a professor or a grad student, make sure you get a copy of the Dissertation Toolkit.  These tools will give you more information and tips for productive and creative writing.  For those of you who have had trouble making yourself write, you may want to start with VERY short writing goals . Even 5 or 10 minutes will be enough to get you jumpstarted.  Don't go more than 25 or 30 minutes withou

Academic Exhaustion Syndrome: Four Recovery Strategies

The semester’s over. If you’re anything like the academics I coach, you feel like death warmed over.  Those last stacks of grading got done on sheer will, determination and fumes. And this is before considering your writing deadlines, committee responsibilities, and other demands.  You are suffering from Academic Exhaustion Syndrome.  Academic Exhaustion Syndrome (an advanced, more scholarly state of burn out) is a state of emotional, and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress, ending with grading, over the course of the semester and academic year. As the stress continues, you begin to lose interest and motivation to work, you have fantasies of standing up and screaming in the middle of a meeting, and you wonder what temporary loss of reality testing made you decide to become an academic.  This dreaded Syndrome can: Reduce your productivity and saps your energy Make you irritable and have thoughts of strangling an undergraduate Make you feel like you have nothing more to g