The purpose of dangerous opportunity

I always wanted my blog to have more purpose than it does. I’d imagined becoming one of those writers who was picked up to contribute to an online magazine; honestly reviewed graciously donated products; and captured the eyes, hearts, and comments of readers around the globe.

Dangerous Opportunity is not that kind of productive.

Instead, it’s an amalgamation of my life; baking and blogging, current events, life events. It’s less than my journal, which is far more intimate and private. It’s more than my journal because it’s an invitation to you all to witness. For some, it’s been a place to see their own struggles reflected in my sharing of personal health issues (depression, addiction, stress, eating disorders). It’s been a place through which I’ve processed my life decisions, profession, relationship, and queer identity.

Dangerous Opportunity is my kind of productive. It’s a place to reflect, write, and connect. And without it, I feel an emptiness.

The busy-ness of the past few weeks has led to blogging falling off my plate. I’m not ashamed of this. Not self-flagellation. It’s a simple fact. Setting up a schedule in a new place is difficult. When you add on the additional barriers of Bryce’s illness, my beginning a doctoral program, and Korrie searching for a job, the day-to-day is less planned and more “figure it out as you go.”

I’d hoped by now I’d be settling into a routine that I’d be carrying through. There are routines. Monday I have class all day. Tuesday I work from home for my GRA. Wednesday I’m class and the office. Thursday is either office or home for GRA work. Friday is GRA work at the office all day. I arrive on campus by 8am, as there’s little parking opportunity between 8:30am-1:30pm. On those days, I make the effort to swim 20-60 minutes in UTK’s outdoor, heated pool. It’s glorious. This week, I was introduced to the swimsuit dryer. It’s amazing. If I don’t swim, I feel the sadness and stress creeping in; so much that even the sunny, warm walks to coffee or my car don’t ease it.

Most days I wake at 6:45am. I’d like to wake earlier, but I’m still figuring out how to get to bed on time. If I wake early enough (aka 5:30 or 6:00am), I can sit on the porch with coffee, dog, and homework or reading. I like the porch. It’s publicly private, and enough outdoors that I don’t feel caged. I like watching the sunrise. On mornings like today, when it’s cool (60s) and rainy, I get to enjoy the weather I love, while writing, without getting wet. It’s the small gifts. If I stay at home to work, I sit at the dining room table so I can watch Bryce and Fuzz sleep on the open porch. I take a break before lunchtime and walk Bryce for 20 minutes around the complex. It’s no power walk, as she’s still limping, but it gets us both in sunlight and gives her an opportunity to roll around in the grass. We usually break again around 4pm to move, stretch, and get outside.

I’m not sure what my days will look like come December 1st. We have to move again; a reality I’ve known since July. We decided to sign a 4-month lease so that we could find a rental house in an area of Knoxville we like once here. We’re finding that more difficult than anticipated. The market moves quickly, often turning rentals around within 1-5 days of posting. To identify, connect with and view a property means you’re constantly searching. It’s exhausting. Still, most of the properties are signing only for Nov 1st leases, so even though we had a 60-day notification to our apartment complex, we may not know where we’re living until early/mid-November unless we figure out how to swing double rend for November. We have financial challenges; Tennessee doesn’t accept Boston financial statements, so we’re making the case for our financial capacity with letters from employers and limited paystubs. I don’t have capacity to do any of this. Thankfully, Korrie is taking it on. I would’ve signed a 12-month lease originally for ease. Doctoral study and work takes up many waking minutes. So, one of his jobs is to find us a house. It’s a leap of trust for me.

The thing that worries me most is routine. Will there be a porch for me to sit on? Will there be grass for Bryce to roll in? A fenced yard so we can let her out unworried? Will the kitchen be full of light and big enough for us both to prep and cook in? Will it allow me to bake and blog again? Will there be enough storage space so we can get rid of this storage locker we’re renting. How far will I have to travel to school? What time will I have to get up to be able to get pulled together and on-campus by 8am? What will my days look like? Those are the questions that leave me unsettled; the pit of my belly empty and nauseous.

I know what my purpose is here in Tennessee: I’m here to study, learn, and grow. I’m here to earn a Ph.D. I’m here to develop into a productive scholar. I’m here to truly begin my research and teaching career within the ivory tower.

What I’m not sure of right now is how I’m going to be productive. How will I set my days’ course to meet my purpose? How will my home affect my practice? My family? My self? How will it affect all the little things that make high-level productivity easier (porches, sunlight, easy commutes, green space, big kitchens)? How long will it take to find and feel at home in a new space?

I come back again to dangerous opportunity (purposefully not capitalized). This blog is my place to explore my world and all of the dangerous opportunities it holds. This next move and home is our next dangerous opportunity. It’s a change that will set up our years here in Tennessee, give us an anchor to safe space, and offer a place from us to grow within and from. In turn, Dangerous Opportunity will be a home for me to hold my experiences through reflecting, writing, and connecting with my self and all of you.

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Amanda Michelle Jones

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Connector of People & Resources

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