Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping Pace with myself

My artistic outlets have been taking a backseat to the rigors of graduate study lately. Instead of relaxing with my journal and my thoughts or taking off on my bicycle to find photo opportunities, I've been holed up in the lab or at my kitchen table with articles spread out around me, my head in my hands, and a thesis defense date looming increasingly large on my horizon.

But I refuse to let it take complete control, and in defiance of the stress of it all, I have found mini-moments and outlets through which I am able to wrest a modicum of control over my life. For instance, Franco and I are taking a once-weekly salsa dance class. He is loving it as much as I am and grabs me whenever we are together with a free moment to practice our new moves. Having his enthusiasm right alongside mine is a treasured gift, and I relish the stolen times we find to share in our new-found hobby. We have both been long-time lovers of all kinds of dance, but taking a class with a partner is a new experience for us both.

His support has been immeasurable. We are both so incredibly busy with teaching and internshipping and studying and writing and trying to keep our heads above water but we still manage to find time for each-other, if only across the table studying together. We just took a one-night trip into the mountains this past weekend, and it turns out that the fresh air and fall colors and stunning scenery was exactly what we both needed to get the energy to plow through yet another week of relentless obligation.

Something that has been an unexpected factor for me recently is my almost-obsession with the upcoming election. I find myself feeling very personally involved in the daily goings-on and developments of the partisan emotions and increasingly rancourous tone of so many of my country mates. I find it to be both a hopeful and extremely troubling time in my life as I look at how debate and willingness to listen has devolved into name calling and a continuance of the policies of fear and hatred coming into the forefrount of the national dialogue (if one can call it that). I wonder if my level of stress will fall dramatically on Nov. 5th or if this is just the beginning of my political awakening and if it is a path I will continue to follow as I find it harder and harder to play the apathetic role and pretend that my voice does not matter. The only reality that I can bear is to start to believe that my voice has to matter, and that I have to act on that assumption with conviction and bravery. We shall see.

Fall is here in San Diego, which translates into slightly cooler evenings and a sparse smattering of colored trees where they have been transplanted from more variable climes. I am awash in the sense of nostalgia that always grips me at this time of the year, and wonder once again: where oh where has the time all gone away to? It's hard to keep track of the changing times of the earth when I can hardly manage to keep up with myself. . .

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