Once upon a time, there lived a little girl who loved nothing more than to let her imagination carry her away to far off places filled with adventure, romance, and magic. Most often, the girl could be found sitting at the kitchen table, her small fingers pecking away at her mother’s electric typewriter, committing her dreams to ink and paper.
Fast forward to 2018, and the little girl is now a woman with a husband, children, and an endless list of responsibilities. Yet, while these responsibilities have sent her down some unexpected and sometimes rocky paths throughout her life, she somehow never lost her ability to dream. And, just as they did when she was eight years old, those dreams are fighting to break free and find their way to pages that have remained blank for far too long.
If you have not yet guessed, that little girl is Yours Truly. And yes, maybe it seems a little dramatic to begin my farewell message in the form of a fairy tale. However, I do so in order to stress one simple fact that has played a large role in my decision to leave Wilson: life is an infinite mix of dreams and adventure, and it’s time that I took a deep breath, let go of my fear of the unknown, and embraced mine.
This hasn’t been an easy decision for me. Wilson has remained a “lighthouse” of sorts for well over a decade of my life—through two degrees, and six years as an adviser and a teacher. I will miss the faculty and staff who have mentored me throughout my time here more than they could possibly know. I will miss the students, many of whom became family and taught me more about life than I could ever possibly teach them.
However, it is time for me to “spread my wings and fly the nest” as a very wise Wilson professor has noted (he knows who he is).
There is a passage in Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” that seems to sum up where I find myself right now: “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
To put a finer point on it, I’m standing in the middle of an intersection of two one-way streets. The easiest option would be to continue in the same direction I’ve been traveling. After all, I know where it leads. It’s a familiar path that I’m fairly comfortable with—one that I’ve enjoyed immensely.
The other road is a little less certain. I’ve heard there are many distractions and obstacles along the way, and that some never reach their destination (for the sake of this narrative, just imagine that GPS doesn’t exist). However, for those fortunate enough to find their way, the journey is exciting and the destination magnificent.
So the little girl—the one who still resides in my soul—has decided to take the reins for a while. She’s not worried about where the road might lead. She’s more afraid of the many amazing things she might miss out on if she doesn’t take a chance and change direction. So here I am, letting her lead the way. She seems to know where the magic exists, and I’m trusting that her love of life and sense of adventure—and the wealth of knowledge, determination, and courage I’ve gained during my time at Wilson—will light the way forward.
Keep the fires burning bright, Wilson Phoenix.