Start Making Sense

As in the aftermath of any trip, I have returned to the routine accompanied by a distinct sense of malaise. Questions are never just answered, much less so by jaunts in what-might-be lands of make-believe, and yet, just like a snowglobe that sat collecting dust for months, a little shake makes the world look magical, beautiful, and yet crushingly confined once again.

Listening to a fantastic (and granted, few aren’t) episode of This American Life entitled “Special Ed” on the road, I was reminded of the daunting task of editing roughly 10 hours of footage I’ve shot of my aunt telling meandering parts her life story. I’ve been making excuses about this forever. My mother, now retired, is prodding me as well, and when she starts doing that, it’s really time to get serious.

It is truly rewarding to find that friends seeking advice can in turn become reciprocal advisers mere weeks later. Thus thanks to Mike, with whom I’ve been sharing frequent and long phone conversations on life, love, learning, and confusion. Most recently, the perks of the academic calendar, the regrets of not taking advantage of resources while you have free access to them, and what to make of yourself if what you know is that you like telling people about stuff that is super-interesting. How many times do I start a sentence with “Oooh, I was reading this article…..”?

My last trip left me hellbent on planning school. This remains an area of great interest to me, and yet I feel I may have the foresight to realize that I could easily find myself in a similar state of mind four years down the road, pushing e-mails around in a bureaucratic capacity, gainfully yet unfulfillingly employed.

I saw a piece at the MoMA on Monday that had exactly the fusion of media and urbanism I find so exciting. It was a video piece that layered architectural renderings on top of the existing urban landscape, filling brownfields with parks and new buildings, shifting perspective, integrating the visionary phrases that make urban design compelling. Part of what makes this so exciting to me is that such a fusion can and is being done, and furthermore, that it can be done anywhere in the world. I learned from a co-worker whose son is an architect that Google Earth and Sketch Up — a program that facilitates architectural renderings — are being integrated such that a designer can overlay their design directly on the satellite photo of the site.

But what of this having a scattershot of passions and interests? Ah, the lure of the family profession, teaching. It would, of course, put me regularly on the academic calendar, that madness that keeps you working non-stop 9 months out of the year, with a shy-of-three-month stretch in the summer to pursue other projects and diversions. And with the developing ubiquity of video as a means of communication, particularly of the independent or so-called “people-powered” variety, it seems as though a background in video paired with some stripe of social/public policy education ought to make a solid educator in the social sciences, does it not?

It remains of phase of dreaming and questioning. Stop Making Excuses. Start Making Sense.

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