Chin up.

From a diplomatic advisor, a fresh perspective on the tumultuous calamity that I call my life, is to keep your chin up. Practical advice, that may be hard to swallow, but true to “practical,” “achievable,” in many ways it is quite simple.

While I grit my teeth so hard to cause major tension headaches and jaw strain, I must remind myself of the hope and potential for greener pastures. To not live a life of fear, of dread, or disappointment. Instead, it is a choice to live a life of joy and happiness.

I tend to place fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment first in my work, then in my family. The painful unpacking of past events of history’s past, help me to see the clarity in this mantra. Academia had always been a retreat from the pain and suffering of life, and since those two realities have come into direct and forceful opposition, I am learning to seek solace in a more careful balance. A colleague recently reflected that in his 23 years of marriage, he has learned (and advised me to do the same): put your spouse first, your children second, and your career third. Why is it that sometimes our only real lessons for life come with time and experience (meaning in the process we are blinded from the emergent truth)?

As I revise a rejected manuscript (based on research conducted five years ago, that is now accepted for publication pending revisions), I relish in the opportunity to share my thinking on a (digitally) printed page. This is the work that I enjoy. This, and my son’s smile, are what help me keep my chin up.

I’m sticking around, and still smiling, despite a fear that everyone else is wondering why.

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