Turning 50 is a big deal. Turning 53, not so much. However, this has been a momentous year for me. A year ago I was on my way to South Africa. It was an amazing trip, as I have written about in my blog a year ago. When I returned from that trip, I had to prepare for surgery on my left foot. I had found out in September that I was born with an extra bone in my foot. Accessory navicular bone syndrome is a new part of my vocabulary. I am learning to deal with all the wonderful symptoms that come with being a woman over 50. Sleep is at a premium.
I am coming to grips with the fact that I won’t be the runner that I once was. Nearly a year after what was rather complicated surgery, I can run, but it’s slow and sometimes painful. I am learning to appreciate cycling and other low-impact activities. I see a rowing machine in my future.
I have entered my third year as the provost of a small college, living in one of the most beautiful and exciting parts of the country. I have learned a great deal about my capacity for leadership, and my desire to help clear the path for young people of all backgrounds to get a great education. We are not moving the needle fast enough — but I believe we have the capability to improve educational outcomes for all.
As a political scientist, I can’t help but follow politics closely. It has been a crazy year on that front, and promises to get even more complicated over the next few months. I will be writing a great deal as things progress. Immigration, populism, the radical right, discrimination, all of the things I have researched over the past ~20 years is coming to a head at this point in history.
I feel blessed to have great family and friends who keep me going when times get rough and cheer me on when times are good. I have no regrets as I head into the next year, but I will be sure to do what I can to help my community and our country move through this difficult time, hanging on to hope for a better future for my boys.