by Theen …
As I look forward to the journey that begins next week, I keep returning to the idea of perceptual lenses. I’m going to try to be extra mindful of my own lenses/perspective throughout our journey, and will do my best to switch to different perceptual lenses to be more fully engaged in the experience.
Speaking of lenses, a few words on the minutia of packing. Not only will my perceptual lenses need constant attention, but if the rumors of extreme dustiness are true, so will
the lenses in my glasses! When packing light is imperative,1 and one has no idea how much time we’ll have to go to the chemist (to start using the right terms) or market, figuring out how to have the essential glass care tools on hand is an unexpected challenge. (Side note to Jude: it frightens me how much smaller your packing piles are than mine. I think my back is going to give me an earful.) This is just one small decision/trade off that has to happen for every single item that goes in your bag. I’m surprised at how much cognitive effort this creates, and it’s incredibly distracting from more important things.
What’s more important than getting ready for the trip? Like Kate, my family has been unbelievably supportive. My wife and daughters have been incredibly understanding and tolerant of my frequent disappearing act during the MBA program. (“Where’s dad?” “Oh, right. In the office.”) My parents have stepped up to help out throughout the program, and my sister has been very understanding of her flaky brother. Being away for almost 2.5 weeks, however, seems simply too much to ask of my daughters, especially when it’s very possible I may not have access to Skype for several days. All the craziness of wrapping up finals, spinning down at work, and the aforementioned packing are making it hard for me to do what is most important but feels like a luxury: spending some quality time with my family before I leave. In some ways, it feels like I’ve already left. My wife, supportive as ever, keeps reminding me that it’s temporary.
I know that once the journey is underway, my perspective will shift drastically. But right now, my lenses are a little melancholy-tinted.
Thanks to Alison’s visual reminder, I’m now off to pick up something for my left wrist: a watch. It will serve both as a visual cue to eat with my right hand, and as a way to keep time since I won’t have my usual watch (iPhone) ready at hand.
In closing, a note to self: once you get back, to reward yourself for pushing through these last few months, spend lots of time with your family, and play lots of guitar to make up for the musical desert of the last few years. You’ve earned it.
1 Carry on baggage, for example, is one bag of 15 lbs. or less.