After six weeks in San Diego (for the birth of my first grandchild--more on that later) I returned to South Texas earlier this week. The reentry was bittersweet. I had to leave my daughter, son-in-law and grandson in San Diego but I was returning to my husband, my home and my work. Avoiding such tasks as laundry and syllabi revision, I focused my attention on the flower beds. I brought back a backseat full of plants––unusual specimens that I believed would grow just as well in South Texas as they had in Southern California. But I had to make space for them in the overgrown beds gracing the entrance to our home.
As I knelt on the ground yanking weeds of unknown name from the ground, I discovered that the Mexican primrose had also taken over. I am of the usual nature to let these beautiful plants bloom where they chose, but in stepping back and taking a look at the bed, I realized that while pleasing to the eye, they were simply out of place. They simply had to go so that new plants could be planted.
As beads of sweat dripped down my back, I experienced an epiphany that the flower bed was much like my life. While my life was full of wonderful activities, people, and opportunities, there just wasn't room for all of it. It was time to weed the garden of my life. And so as the heat of summer drives me indoors for much of the time, I am refocusing my energies to make room for all that has become most important to me: trips to San Diego to see the new little guy in my life and support my daughter in her motherhood and time to write again, particularly about the power of stories to shape and transform our lives.
But what is to be weeded? First and foremost, a 100 mile round-trip commute, made possible by renting an apartment within walking distance of campus. That alone will give me an extra 9-15 hours a week. That's a lot of writing time.