So, in addition to my more developed blogs, I have been thinking about a lot of little—and not-so-little—things:
I have been thinking a lot about climate change on this trip... dying forests, disappearing lakes, signs reminding people to conserve water, the waste of food, the overuse of paper products, the lack of recycling outside of National Parks, the smog-enhanced sunsets.... I can see how easy it is for people to divorce their over-consumption from the bigger problems of climate change. Climate change is not a myth, and its effects are already a foregone conclusion. This does not mean all is lost; it only means we have to work harder to mitigate the circumstances.
And a lot about the importance of staying connected with friends and family, both of which I can be better at. Coming back together with old friends often feels like we were never apart. But then I just think about how much I miss them.
And a lot about self-care and the importance of taking time away from work—regularly and sometimes for extended periods of time (like more than a day!).
And time more generally. Being in a time bubble, jumping from one time zone to another and back again, how time stretches and compresses, how I am so fortunate to have all this time—to have made all this time—and how to hold on to that time and then let it go. And then remember it enough to find this time again, and more regularly.
And a lot about prison and other fucked up American institutions. We watched the second season of Orange Is the New Black in a few days’ span after hearing that one of my students was sent back to prison to finish her sentence. I was devastated, but I wrote her a letter immediately reminding her that she is an amazing human being with a lot to offer this world. It is a small thing in a big world of problems.
And about being old. In 2016, I turned 40 and many of my friends are around the same age or older. We all feel the same “age” we were when we were younger, but our bodies are getting older and our lives have changed to show our age—our jobs, our children, our health, our dreams. We spent many days hanging out with “old ladies” and playing card games. They also like to talk. So, I learned a lot about aging bodies, retirement, families, death, community, and so much more.
About how hard life is for so many people—for all of us. We all have struggles, desires, and stumbling blocks. But I have also thought about how all the people I know also have it pretty darn good.
And in all of this thinking I tried not to worry too much about my colleagues working themselves to the bone. I also tried not to worry about all of the work I have to do when I return. Like always, it somehow always gets done.
I haven’t been thinking about the most immediate world of problems—the election, the impending change of power. That world was a different world while I was on my trip. It was on pause. The problems of that world are not new; they are why I teach and write and spend all my spare brain space thinking.
I also tried not to think too much about how nice it would be to just be able to travel and write and teach yoga and never have to think about anything ever again!