Last week was a whirlwind of planning, meetings, and last minute problem solving leading up to the year end dinner celebration for this organization, and the career development conference the next day that kicks off the new year. I felt incredibly proud of the body of work we produced over the past year - and also very relieved that my role in steering this ship is over.
As I wrote in this post last year, I was nervous and excited to take on the challenge of running this large network of women. If anything, it grew in size and prominence over the past year - but it was a ton of work from day one through last Friday afternoon. I was incredibly fortunate to work with amazing women, and create professional relationships and friendships that would never have formed outside of this experience. I had big shoes to fill in this position and I simply could not fail. I had a lot to prove, mostly to myself.
I looked around the conference on Friday afternoon and saw all the faces, some familiar, some new, listening attentively to the speaker's message and I thought, "I did it. It's over. Breathe." Of course I didn't do it alone, and that is why the year was so rewarding - but the pressure was fully self-imposed. And now I have permission to let it go.
The end of the year celebration was a huge success - a sold out dinner of 200 in an elegant setting (the Chancellor came again!). I would equate the high I felt Thursday night to finishing a marathon - a huge accomplishment that took a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck on race day. But just like finishing a marathon, there is a let down that comes with a big achievement, a sense of 'now what?' that lingers no matter how happy and fulfilled you feel.
My favorite speaker from the conference was Shane Lopez, the world's leading authority on Hope - how cool is that job title? We can all use a little more hope in our lives. I think our group's efforts spread some hope on Thursday evening and on Friday - hope for fulfilling academic careers and for happy, balanced family lives. Perhaps it will become my life mission to spread hope, in big and small ways, every day.
I stayed at home yesterday - hiding away from reality and all the other responsibilities at work I've been neglecting in the past few weeks. I needed another day to recharge, to recover. I went for an early morning run and ate breakfast on the deck with the kids. We went to the library, took an afternoon nap. The only title I have at home is 'Mom' and the challenge of being a good one was all I was up for yesterday.
I found it hard to go out the door this morning. Time with my kids can be addictive - the more time I have with them, the harder it is to be away. It's like that for them, too. The day back to school after a long weekend is always the worst drop-off at day care. We're all creatures of habit I guess. It's why you shouldn't take more than two days off from your exercise routine. It's why I had to pull myself away from this perfect spot this morning...
We all need a break from the routine sometimes, time to just be in the moment and slow down. Time to just be.