August 2010. *wince* Yeah, that was awhile ago.
I’m .. two jobs and half a country from where I was then, less one house and a lot of flotsam. But the state of the world, and my place in it, mean I’m drawn again to the urge to engage in the process of mental sorting that maintaining a blog allows. I’m reasonably sure blogs are now hopelessly out-of-date as a method of communication and certainly make no pretense of keeping up with even those I know to still exist, but in the interest of .. something, I guess, it appears I’m.. maybe back?
Right, so what’s changed? As mentioned, my job and my location. I’m in the DC metro area now, working for a national association advocating for the interests of public higher education institutions. It’s both a completely logical next step from where I was and a huge departure. There will likely be occasional posts here on issues I encounter during my day job, but only because I have the unwarranted good fortune to work in a field about which I’m passionate. But, because it needs to be said, all opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my employer. Generally, I agree with their opinions more often than not – I wouldn’t continue to work for and with them if that weren’t true (ask me how long I worked for the law firm that represented Exxon in the Valdez case after I found that out) – but the devil is almost always in the details, so to protect both them and me, everything here is mine.
I no longer own the house some of you may remember watching me renovate by bits and pieces. It now houses a family of, I believe, four after spending the better part of two years vacant. I miss it for a variety of reasons, but wouldn’t change the set of circumstances that led me to sell it and move. Along with the house went a fair amount of “stuff” – you can’t move from a 2-story, 3-bedroom home to a thousand square foot apartment without lightening the load a bit, after all. The most significant of the other things, though, lived in the garage: I’m now car-free. Here that’s not only possible but, at least for me, preferred. It’s less expensive, for one, but also healthier (I walk 4-5 miles a day just as a matter of course now) and makes me feel better about my carbon footprint. Or, it does when I don’t remember that I travel more now – to the tune of once-ish a month, mostly for work. Also, riding the train means I have more time to read.
What hasn’t changed? I still knit, though arguably less than I did. It goes in fits and starts, sometimes having to do with the seasons but more often having to do with my travel and conference attendance schedule. I’m one of those people, it turns out, that doesn’t sit still well through presentations and the advent of smart phones makes it *far* too easy to tune out what’s happening in front of me, even if it’s something I’m interested in. Knitting helps me stay where I am by keeping my hands busy and my mind from wandering.
I still tend to be more oriented toward social justice, though I’m arguably less vocal now. This , I think, has to do with what I see as an unfortunate tendency for knee-jerk responses and categorization of people based off (based on?) a single statement and an apparent lack of space in today’s instant gratification, always available society for meaningful and genuine conversation. When what gets remembered now isn’t even a sound bite but a 140-character tweet (or 118 characters and a photo) sent into the void, community seems fleeting. Which is ironic when that same technology also allows me to keep in more or less daily contact with family and friends from around the country, thereby granting the very same community. All the same, the nuance is frequently lost: we, as a society, seem incapable of reading past the first two paragraphs, and it much of what counts as interaction today is snarky one-liners and a chain of logical fallacies expressed with increasing emphasis while simultaneously sticking our fingers in our ears and singing “la la la la la”. I don’t necessarily exempt myself from that accusation, but I like to think (perhaps incorrectly or arrogantly) that there’s a better way, so long as we allow ourselves the space and freedom to not know all the answers every time.
So, all that said, I make no promises as to the content you might find here, nor about the frequency with which I’ll write. If you want more frequent – though also much more heavily higher education focused – updates, try finding me on Twitter. Eventually I’ll figure out how to add a widget thing, but for now, I’m @TeriLynHinds.