WHAT INSPIRES ME
I see life as a gift that must be used to become our best selves in a social world, which includes expressing gratitude and compassion while inspiring others to do the same. Working with motivated, interesting students dedicating themselves to healing others is a thrill and an honor, for while they invariably have the intelligence to do the academic work, they’ve likely never faced such a vast and relentless cascade of material in such a short time span—all while playing out their many other life roles. Helping incredible people to optimize and troubleshoot their efforts to succeed affords the sort of meaningful connection with others that I crave. I have great love and compassion for every student I have ever met, for the vulnerability they experience and share during their whitewater ride. It’s so gratifying when students get back to me and say “Hey, thanks for that suggestion—it’s working!” Witnessing their insights, and personal and professional growth, is the LEAD version of saving lives—what a rush!
I like my routines and the constancy of the place I call home, the farm I grew up on and returned to later in life to have a family. Reading, nature walks, and outdoor activities lift my spirits, calm my mind, and provide perspective and ideas that help me find meaning.
Eating mostly vegetarian meals and lots of blueberries and other fruits and veggies makes me feel good, mentally and physically. I walk and run several miles weekly, along with fairly regular weight training and workouts. I also use my standing desk and take plenty of push-up, pull-up, and stretching breaks between meetings and other desk work. I generally turn in around 10pm and get up at 6am.
Working with wood to create something useful forces ideas into reality, which I find very rewarding and validating. Practicing well-honed bad habits on my acoustic and electric guitars also channels an energy that finds no other means of escape and brings me great joy and connection with all kinds of music I love, whether playing alone or among others. When I need an attitude reset or Zen moment, sometimes I’ll just pull weeds in our 12-acre blueberry field, which is satisfying and humbling at the same time.
Our family connects over dinner daily, sometimes for the indulgent couch dinner so we can all laugh at Seinfeld reruns or our own family videos. Playing ping pong or croquet or hiking around the farm with family and friends have been more popular these days than the pre-pandemic runaround between our kids’ extracurricular activities. Zoom and phone calls with friends and family help as well. Staying connected to old friends and interacting with all types of people fills my heart and gets me out of my bubble.
Supporting and connecting with my family and embracing the joys and rigors of our rural life in Lebanon are my passions. Using our farm as a workshop, crucible, and playground to learn and grow as individuals and as a family fills my time outside of work. Whether through woodworking, planting trees, managing labor crews, or cultivating our kids’ life skills, I thrive on practicing resourcefulness and embracing limitless opportunities to make the most of our cultivated and wild spaces. The rewards and consequences spark a wide range of adventures and emotions that remind us we’re alive. Part of what I love about this life we’ve chosen is that it provides wide open spaces to roam and revel in, while at the same time connecting us to many issues, people, and opportunities associated with rural life and farming.