Recently my dreams are so much clearer to me - and I've been having several that stick with me. Last night I dreamt about my Chicago friend Tim Patricio - he was visiting me in a place where several of my Chico/UHFS friends were present and he read out loud this beautiful friendship note he had written to me. Tim and I met in 2001 when the North End hired Performer's Karaoke to do Wednesday night shows and I became the hostess, DJ Ladypipes. Tim's karaoke handle was Tim_A and we became buddies over our love of singing, Madonna, and tequila. Tim to this day is the only friend I can still let corrupt me with alcohol. And while I am happily married and love my husband more than anything, if Tim Patricio ever wanted to have sex with me, I'd do it in a New York minute. And he knows this, too, because I've asked. The man is gay, what else can I say? I sure do love you, DJ Tim-A. Miss you so much!!
The other dream had to do with the recreation management class I took during my time at Chico state. And I find the whole thing so funny, because on Monday of this week my sister called me from Pennsylvania. She told me that she was having a tough day at work and just needed to hear a friendly voice. I went to return the call and was met with voicemail, just as she received from me. And I tried to be that friendly voice for her, because i know what it's like to have a tough day. I found myself sharing a thought with her and that thought has stayed with me for the better part of the past 24 hours:
Your job is how you make your living, but it's not how you define your life.
I'm pretty sure that I didn't coin this phrase, certainly someone said it before me. But the message is something I believe in to the core of my soul, especially after my time at Chico State. I often share the story of how I "wise cracked" at a senior management meeting that i WAS going to be that one associate director who was able to get her job done in 40 hours a week. And I still remember being scolded about that by my supervisor, that my thoughts "weren't realistic" and maybe it was time I rethought my decision about that position. Which I did. And I have. Because when I left that position I left the housing profession forever.
Bobbi Abram saved me. I make no bones about that. And admittedly it's a little corny, because it's not like she pulled me from a burning building or anything like that, but she had the guts (and foresight maybe) to offer me a position I really wasn't qualified for; a position that took me out of the housing field - a career that now, looking back, I can say was sucking the life out of me. It wasn't so much the student issues as it was the expectation that you be available to anyone and everyone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, holidays included.
Okay, so to anyone who went to college, this is not some mind blowing realization all of a sudden and coming out of nowhere. I'm certainly not the first "recovering housing professional" to say that I was burned out. And enough research has been done about how stressed out housing staff are...(and other student affairs professionals are, for that matter) - but I fear still that no one is trying to change this. Managers - especially senior level managers - are not standing up and saying "Enough is Enough." Someone needs to steer the ship.
That class I took in recreation management allowed me to do research on work/life balance and provide a presentation to my classmates - something I'm super proud of and would like to channel into something more - an e-book, an updated presentation (maybe for the CASE conference in September), further blogging activity and so forth. I love that Bobbi sees me as someone who models this well and can help her learn more about finding that balance. I love that I have energy to blog, to run, to knit, to read, and that I don't go home on a daily basis hating my work or feeling disengaged. I love that I'm invested in my job and my life. And I love that I feel as though I have a responsibility to say something about it.
So - starting today - I'm going to do just that. I'm going to work on the CASE program proposal (which is due next week - YIKES) and try to blog more about my research and preparation. I think I want this to be my life's work - my 15 minutes of fame - and my gift to the world. Again, I'm not the only one to feel this way or to have talked about it, but I am going to make sure that people know I care about it.
And now that this entry is over, I've learned that the song lyric I was pulling from is actually GHOST by the Indigo Girls and the line is "shadowing my dreams.". That's fine, too. :)