I posted my first “Chasing the Sun” on November 17th, 2015. That was nearly two years ago. This is my 45th post for the Leaf where I get to write reflections about life, whether they be good or bad. I can’t say how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to write for a paper and site that cares so deeply about the people of the state of Alabama. the Leaf has been and will continue to be something I cherish deeply.
So far, this post sounds like I’m saying goodbye, but that’s not the case. Not really, anyway. Next week, I am going to start my 6th year of teaching at the University of Alabama. Because of additional opportunities, I’m going to have more students/classes than ever. I’m also working on the third draft of my manuscript, My Life Without Ranch. I finished the first draft two years ago. Time flies and all that.
Since my schedule is so insane, I have decided to focus on my job and the book with everything I have. My dream is to get that ISBN number and though I work on it, I could work harder. And that’s what I’m going to do. So, instead of a bi-weekly “Chasing the Sun,” I’m going to write it when the mood strikes, so to speak.
I am a better writer without the pressure of a deadline anyway (even if it is self-inflicted). My similes are stronger and my metaphors have more might when something strikes a chord and I feel that I have to write.
As I have mentioned before, my obsessive compulsive disorder lends me to favor numbers that end in a zero or a five so 45 posts seems like a good place to take a break. Today I looked back on my first ever post and got caught off guard thinking about all that has happened in the short time since I started the column.
Since November of 2015, I lost a dear friend of mine to cancer, my baby brother got engaged, I’ve gained weight, I’ve lost it, I’ve gained it again and the state of the politics in this country has shifted completely. In the news, we are hit with worldwide stories filled with so much hatred and it’s hard not to get jaded and angry.
In the midst of the madness, we are all just trying to live our lives. While we shouldn’t ignore what is going on around us, it is also important to remember how much goodness still remains. We need the positive images too. We need to see the vigils and stories of people reaching out a hand to help someone else. We have to have balance between serving ourselves and serving others.
In my first post I wrote, “Chasing the sun is what I strive to do every day. My life is a steady flow of trying to balance life, family, friends, work, rest and my creative life and sometimes, it’s hard.” That’s still true for me, and it’s true for everyone. Life comes at some people harder than others and there’s no good explanation as to why. We need to be here for each other and realize that we aren’t always right all the time.
“I used to know everything.” That’s something I also said in my first post and it’s so true. When you are unable to listen, incapable of empathizing, you isolate everyone around you. You can’t change anyone like that. The greatest way to impact someone is to listen to them. When we don’t try to understand each other, we lose.
I’m going to end here before I let this post run amok with clichés about life and loving each other but I still think it’s important to try to chase the sun. That may mean different things for different people, but for me, it means I’m going to work harder to be a positive force in both my life and the life of others. All we have is each other. Thanks to everyone that has been reading!