November 29, 2022

Heavy, Sticky, and Sometimes Icky

Posted on November 29, 2022 by Kevin R. Murray

The road seems heavy and sticky, take time to reach out to other Fellows, and for our own mental health, seek personal time with those things that make you smile. A couple of months ago I discovered Peloton bikes. I am addicted. I ride everyday that I am not traveling, and even when I am traveling, I look for gyms with bikes. Through my immersion in the process, I have determined my favorite instructors and while each instructor has a slightly different ride structure, a common instruction is a declaration that the road is about to get heavy and sticky. Of course, this warning comes to alert the rider that it will take more effort to move the stationary bike down the imaginary road. It is often accompanied by an admonition that it is time to find inner strength and dig deep.

Events of the past few days, weeks, months, and years have indeed indicated a heavy and sticky road. Often, I hear friends and associates declare an intent to “avoid the news,” to “leave social media,” or just to get away. We hear talk of societal fractionization and dark times. Climate change and related disasters challenge many. I have also come to discover that many of our Fellows find themselves personally navigating very heavy and sticky roads either themselves or on behalf of loved ones. The situation does suggest the need to dig deep for strength.

Yet amongst this heavy, sticky, and sometimes downright icky road I also see happiness in the faces of travelers. Buoyed by family, friends, colleagues, and Fellows we find strength to keep peddling. My daughter is a television co-host on a local lifestyle show. She often posts about, and interviews, mental health professionals. In a recent interview I found myself thinking about Fellows. Fellow is an attributive noun and suggests a comradery of individuals having common interests. Many of our Fellows are traveling very heavy roads, and (attempting to avoid a cliché) at this time of thanksgiving it reminds me that it would not hurt any of us to reach out to those we know just to check on them. It would also not hurt any of us to remember that our own mental health is best maintained when we take time to smile and spend some time in those endeavors that bring some amount of peace and joy.

This may not be an appropriate blog; it is clearly unconventional in an academic arena. Nevertheless, while on a hike with my dogs this morning (one of my sources of peace and a smile) I found myself thinking through the challenges and the need to reach out to Fellows. The need to reach out to others in general, and the need to continue to work in personal time for those things that bring each of us a smile. Especially when heavy, sticky, and sometimes icky items pressure the journey.