11:37 p.m. Wide awake in a hotel in Los Angeles, California, USA. Tired, but not sleepy. Had to present at a conference regarding student success. Went ok, but didn’t have my usual rhythm. Felt off and a bit disconnected with the attendees who were all professors or professionals in higher education. My mind was not in sync with my mouth – kind of like lyrics that are forced into a melody. Oh well.
Just finished a book about Andy Griffith and Don Knotts of American television and film fame. Their show The Andy Griffith Show was a big part of our younger lives and views of small town America. As I read it, I kept reflecting on my life and mortality. Nagging thoughts about things I have yet to learn – not knowledge, but wisdom.
At the conference, I said goodbye to a young colleague who worked under my supervision for the past three years and is leaving for greater challenges and rewards. She is stoic by nature, but had tears in her eyes as we said goodbye. As I turned away, my eyes teared up too…totally unexpected. I wondered, “Where did that come from?” But, I knew. I cared. If so, why didn’t I show it more often? And, how many other things and people do I care about, but don’t acknowledge it? And, instead of admitting that deep concern … instead do I demonstrate frustration, anxiety, anger in the place of what I really feel?
In wrapping myself up, what have I missed out on? What have I kept to myself that should have been shared, at least with those closest to me? Have I passed that terrible trait on to my children?
My father…not one for showing much emotion even in the saddest of moments… was once given a puppy by my younger brother. When we grew up, dogs were never clean enough to be allowed in our house, regardless of how clean they were. However, my father was about the age I am now when he got the puppy named Dee Oh Gee (dog). My father embraced Dee Oh Gee as if the dog was human. We were shocked at the kindness and tenderness displayed between the two. My father had an outlet for all that wrapped up emotion. Dad’s reaction was not the first time I had noticed this interaction between dog and master. I see it all the time – even with college students who can’t stop texting long enough to acknowledge someone is in their presence. Strangers, who wouldn’t dare stop to talk to you, will come right to you if you are walking a puppy and chat away as if long lost friends.
Maybe we are all holding back. Me think this not good thing…except for the dogs. Sleepless nights in L.A. make you think about such things.