Maybe Everything: Returning to Passion with My HOOS

This has been a pretty exciting year of athletics for everyone in Charlottesville, or anyone who has ever been connected to UVa.  There were moments in the middle of the numbingly long winter where the only thing cheering our hearts and warming our blood was the basketball team that went on to win the ACC Championship and make waves in the NCAA tournament for the first time in far, far too long.

Now, here we are, just a few months later, staying up nights to watch the baseball team win their way to the College World Series finals.  Yes, it’s a great year to be a Wahoo (though, isn’t is always?) and while I’ve lost hours of sleep ( and years off my life)  anxiously staying up to watch the extra innings, I couldn’t be more aware of how proud I am to be a Wahoo.


More than winning, the real value of the excitement comes from how it brings us together; it reminds us of our first adult roots and the collective identity that drove our passion in our early twenties.  At this point in life the only thing that is ironically predictable are change and insecurity.  Relationships, jobs, cities – they are constantly changing – and suddenly it becomes apparent that the most stable years of our adult lives may truly have been the four-ish years we spent as undergrads, bleeding orange and blue and enjoying the steady bubble within Mr. Jefferson’s university.   Game day brings back our security, it reminds us we are a part of something bigger than just ourselves and this single moment in our own lives.  It reinforces that we are a part of this family that continues to grow;  a growing legacy of hearts beating for the same thing — and you know what? It feels damn good.

I have zero idea how tonight’s game is going to turn out, or if we’ll become the National Champions or not, because on some level it [almost] doesn’t matter.  These teams have already inspired us to dig down, remember where we came from, and hopefully feel a little more inspired tomorrow as we plug away wherever we are in our lives and the world.

That was a little bit of a soap box moment, but that’s just where I am.  I am inspired; I’m reminded of everything I love (and loved) about Virginia, what I poured my heart into while I was in school, and what I wanted to accomplish with my life and that passion when I walked down the lawn and carried myself into my future.  Which all begs the question of the moment –  when this passion is remembered and the energy is raw, what’s the plan?  I’ve leveraged that strong foundation to get to this place, to get to right now…. so what’s next?  Maybe everything.






Understanding the Root of it All

Some days are just those days.  Sometimes there’s a significant reason, and sometimes there isn’t.  I think that’s the most bothersome piece of all — feeling off but not having an exact enough reason to really deal with it.

Growing up when I had these sorts of days and would go to my dad I always ended up in the same cyclical conversation about what was actually wrong.  ‘Val, I’m a fixer. I fix problems, but I don’t understand the problem, so I don’t know how to fix it. I need to understand the root cause.’  Well, no kidding. If I knew exactly what the problem was, I’d probably solve it my damn self and wouldn’t be wasting your time (no offense, dad).  Sometimes I don’t have a root cause.  Sometimes I’m dealing with a global cause conspiracy and it would take more time to solve the mystery than it takes to open a bottle of wine and have a solo dance party in my underwear, or get lost in a syndicate marathon of Felicity or Grey’s Anatomy.  (For the record, I highly recommend the former if you can talk yourself into it.  It’s much more emotionally liberating.)

On Monday, sitting at my desk around 10am, I felt the strange calm of silence and an unbreakable feeling that something wasn’t right.  Somewhere, something is out of balance, and I’m not sure if it’s internal or external, but I’m certain that it’s there.  Something must be in retrograde, or some moon must be waxing full in the near future, but regardless of what the ‘root’ cause is necessarily, I sprung a small leak.  Little by little I’ve been losing my own power all week (or longer?).

Today was the longest day of all.  The longest hours, the most meetings, and the largest amount of mind-numbing conversations that inspired me to quickly develop a mental project plan for a mandatory common-sense university curriculum to distribute widely and use as a requirement to be allowed to use a phone or email to communicate with other able persons.  At 4pm I knew I wasn’t going to make it to work out.  Not even the 7:30pm class – half because I wasn’t getting out any time soon, and half because ALL I wanted to do was go home and open a bottle of wine.

So wine I had.  And I had my first moment of coming home to this house that has felt new and ‘strange’ for almost two months now.  There’s something about finally identifying something as a refuge from all the noise — from all life’s other instabilities — and that, I think, will make all the difference.

In a large part I think my uneasiness is the result of change.  Change is hard – always.  No matter what, it’s going to be a struggle to adapt, especially as we get older and have more habits or hangups about our own routines and comfort.  The changing of seasons, of the familiar, and of ourselves is constant — so constant in fact sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of ourselves.

Tonight I’m settling in to this bottle of wine and calling it a night.  But tomorrow, tomorrow’s a different story.  Tomorrow is the day that I dig up the roots — I think it’s time.  It’s a get-shit-done and create stability sort of a day, and you better believe I’m ready for it.

fuel sweat grow

The one thing I can usually count on from myself is my limit.  Good or bad I always reach a limit – the end of what I know I can reasonably handle. Sometimes it’s a visible limit, and sometimes it’s one that I have to work to keep inside, but I know when it’s there.  Effective tomorrow I’m done with search and discovery; I’m done with the mundane; and I’m done with the things that nag on me just enough to interfere with my happiness.

So here’s to this wednesday, and the next two days of opportunity.  Here’s to problem solving, task completing, and peace finding at the end of a long week.  Here’s to doing things because they feel good, and they create momentum — and most importantly, to the things that contribute to the growing sense of home amidst the chaos of an ever-changing world (and the wine that makes that possible).

Maybe it’s not so much about actually identifying a root cause for instability.  Maybe it’s about really growing the roots that anchor you to your world – because without them it sure is hard to feel solid.