Well, hello there!
First of all...thanks for subscribing to my newsletter. I realize that some of you may have signed up sometime ago and, until now, haven't received a thing. Thanks for sticking around! I have to admit that when I first put up a sign-up on my website over 5 years ago, I had forgotten about it but, dude, did I have some great plans. I had wanted to start journaling, documenting my general workflow, share my work in a more accessible format...yet, that was also right around the end of my doctoral studies, I was soon to be starting a new job, and I had been dealing with some family issues. Like my many attempts over the years, plans evaporated quickly and were superseded by, well, life.
A silver lining to entering the new year still in a pandemic and working remotely has been the time to reflect on the things that are more important, or at least the things that should be. This isolating time has forced me to (re)evaluate my present relationship with the work/life balance. At the beginning of the pandemic, I quickly found myself working longer and longer hours, spending less and less time doing the things I enjoyed (and were good for my health), and even less time doing it with the people that I could be around—it simply wasn't sustainable. Each day, I'd work longer hours and feel like I got less done—like I was battling an anti-productivity hydra...every task I completed, at least two more popped up.
I was tired, unmotivated, and burned out. I couldn't see how this was manageable (hint: it wasn't), and I could not see how I'd be able to reach the holy grail of tenure given I had no interest in the work that I was doing.
P.S. Depression sucks, and I'm thankful to have people around that recognized it and were able to help.
As the new year rolled around—and a renewed since of hope crept in—I was able spend some time reflecting on what had transpired over the last year and it really put some things in perspective. While experiencing the previous year, it was hard to look much beyond a day, let alone a week. However, on Jan. 1 of 2021, I made a point to look back not just over the last year but the last decade. I'll save you the lengthy tale but on Jan. 1 of 2011, I was still a newly-wed, I still hadn't finished my masters degree, and I was teaching in the public schools in Michigan. I had no idea that I would be where I am now, then...it wasn't even a seed of a thought. In the proceeding decade, my wife and I would go on to live in 3 other states (Colorado, Virginia, and Texas), visit dozens of others, take a few trips overseas, and spend time living on the coast in a van (I'm a disappointment to Matt Foley). Together, my wife and I would complete (collectively) four additional higher education degrees, and made a wealth new friendships and memories. As I look back on the last year alone, I able to see that I taught over 200 students remotely (moderately successfully, I believe), had half a dozen papers published (and a few others accepted), peer-reviewed 18 manuscripts for academic journals, submitted a few grants and a book proposal, and gave a few presentations. It is no wonder why I was so tired.
As we (fingers crossed) seem to be entering the end times of the pandemic (though, it still may be many months away), I am now looking forward what the next year will bring and finding a new balance to life. I've learned during this time what needs to be prioritize and what can wait. I've realized what I've accepted as "normal" wasn't good or healthy, and I hope that in the years to come to hold on to that and to make space and work that works for me. With that said, I'm hoping to use this space to be reflective (and a little analytical) of what I am doing. I'd like to continue to share this space, as long as you will listen, with the hope that my words might help or spark something. I plan to continue this monthly but maybe it will become more...I don't know yet. I know I'm excited for some of the things I've been working on and will continue to share those as they progress.
As a bit of taste, here's what's upcoming:
Over the coming weeks, I will begin interviewing scholars, practitioners, and stakeholders within the field of adapted physical activity and education for the ADAPTED Project to understand "who we are" and "where are we going". It will be a living repository of oral histories and will be quite an extensive journey. READ MORE.
Recently, my co-editors and I signed a contract with Lexington Books. We have collected a wonderfully diverse set of chapter authors that will explore the interwoven relationship of identity and sport. We expect this volume to be available in early 2022. READ MORE.
Starting this spring, I'll be interviewing other academics about their identity, their mental health, and how that fits, or doesn't, within the academy. Join me as we talk about strategies to cope with the demands of higher ed, and explore how to create boundaries between work and home selves. I'll be releasing episodes this summer wherever you listen to podcasts. READ MORE.
I have also been updating my website, shifting everything to Notion and using Super(affiliate link) to make it look pretty. I've included some of my most recent publications and presentations, and will be updating it more to include some of my on-going projects. CHECK IT OUT.
I'll also be publishing more on my Medium page in the coming weeks. In this space, I'll be using the writing process to help me transparently work through the ideas rolling around my brain. I'll also be writing plain-language synopses of my publications to make them more accessible to a broader audience.
#PlainLanguageResearch: An Idea
The research process particularly the final product, the manuscript, is often inaccessible for a myriad reasons. Most (read: all) research articles are overflowing with jargon and sit behind journal paywalls. It's no wonder that most research findings receive little attention beyond very discipline specific academic spaces. Yet, we (academics) do it to ourselves.
You can follow along, if you like, as my first post will be up tomorrow.
That's it for now. Thanks for hanging in there.