Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is probably my favorite. Not for the feast (although I adore cranberries and turkey, and more importantly, turkey leftovers). Not for the football games (I've never even owned a television). Not for the anticipation of seasonal shopping (it took me years to realize "Black Friday" was meant to be a positive appellation rather than a sardonic judgment on American consumerism). Not for the opportunity to gather with family (the time off has always been too short to realistically gather the far-flung branches of my family into one location). Not even for the annual opportunity to wander through the woods with a dog or two or three, light filtering through branches weighted with a dusting of early season snow (although this is a special delight). Rather, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because, at its core, it is a day set aside to consciously practice gratitude. And wherever we are in the cycle of life, gratitude enriches our lives, the lives of those around us, and the lives of all our communities.
As I wind up my time as a contributing editor to the Academic Support blog, I want to express my gratitude to the incomparable Amy Jarmon for inviting me to be a part of this blogging community and to Steven Foster, who succeeded Amy as editor, for continuing to support me in this endeavor. I learn every day from the insights of my fellow contributing editors -- currently Marsha Griggs, Scott Johns, and Bill MacDonald, as well as from Steven -- someday, with lots of practice, I hope to write half as well as they do. My students as well as my law school colleagues can attest that every week I've brought their insights into the classroom, the conference room, and the hallways. Thanks also to those of you who have sent comments and suggestions on my posts. All too often, my replies to you have fallen victim to the press of a student emergency or the amnesia resulting from an overflowing inbox, but I've read and appreciated all you've written.
In September, I participated in the first annual local gathering of Nancys. Really! The one common denominator was our first name, but the demographics of baby name popularity being what they are (and if you've never checked out Social Security's "Popular baby names by decade" site, it's fascinating), almost all the Nancys had left the world of remunerative employment. And with the possible exception of AASE conferences, I've never been surrounded by more vibrant, involved, and caring people. If I had any doubts about retirement, they disappeared as I listened to my fellow Nancys' stories. I'm looking forward to fully joining the ranks of these "retired but not retiring" Nancys, and to a host of new adventures (many of which will involve wandering through the woods with the aforesaid one or two or three dogs, unless I'm wielding my trusty chainsaw) as I enter a new phase of my life.
I am grateful to have been a part of the law school academic support community for the last eighteen years. Through our many fora -- the LSAC and later AASE conferences, the blog, our several websites, and the listserv -- even those of us who are far-flung could participate in this caring, sharing community dedicated to the bringing out the very best in our students. You, my colleagues, have advised me, inspired me, lifted me up when I was down, and occasionally given me the tough love I needed to get up and do what needed to be done -- the same things you offer our students every day, every week, year after year, with patience, good will, and compassion. It has been a privilege being your colleague, and I thank you with all my heart.