Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back, and Skills to master

I'm back! It's been a disgraceful absence, as far as this blog is concerned. Sorry about that. What can I say? I've been having some trouble keeping up. (Just the simple logistics of everything I have to do.) Ho, hum.

Anyhow, I finally got my hands on a copy of A Thomas Jefferson Education from the library, and I finally finished reading it. I have a number of thoughts about it, but it's late and I need sleep. (OH, how I need sleep!) There is however, something I particularly wanted to share: a list in the book that's originally from the Harvard School of Law.

Harvard Skills
10 things deemed necessary for success in the job market of the 21st century

1) The ability to define problems without a guide.

2) The ability to ask hard questions which challenge prevailing assumptions.

3) The ability to quickly assimilate needed data from masses of irrelevant information.

4) The ability to work in teams without guidance.

5) The ability to work absolutely alone.

6) The ability to persuade others that your course is the right one.

7) The ability to conceptualize and reorganize information into new patterns.

8) The ability to discuss ideas with an eye toward application.

9 & 10) The ability to think inductively, deductively and dialectically.

I leave you with that this evening, because it is well worth pondering.

* * *

And, for fun!

I've missed you all. I'll try not to stay away so long. :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

We have your biopsy results back. . .

I had an unexpected phone call today.
Actually I expected the call, it was the content that was a surprise.
Let me back up just a bit.

I am a very fair-skinned person. Fair skinned, dark haired and freckled all over. I sunburn easily and almost never tan. I live in the Southern USA, where the summers are hot and the sun is blazing. I grew up around here.

My husband has encouraged me many times to get a preventative check at a dermatologist, just to be sure none of my bazillion little moles and freckles have anything to do with skin cancer. I agreed, but since the only odd mark I could think of was a mole on my ear that appeared sometime in childhood, I figured if it hadn't killed me yet it wasn't likely to do so anytime soon. So I put the check-up on my mental back burner, until I finally got around to it last week.

They took a small sample of the odd mole for a biopsy, but didn't spot anything else particularly suspicious. They weren't actually too concerned about the sample either, but it was different enough to warrant a test. So anyhow, today they called to tell me the test results.

"Kit ___?"
"Yes, this is she."
"Hi this is Dr. ___'s office, just calling with your test results."
"Oh, OK!" (expectant pause)
"Could you hold just a moment please?"

That's where I thought, "Uh oh". Because if they have to go get the doctor to tell you the test results, you know they're not going to say that everything's just fine and dandy.

And well, it's not. But it's not that bad either. That wierdo little mole is actually basal cell carcinoma. It's the most common form of skin cancer, and it's usually easy to treat. It's almost never life-threatening. I'll be going back to their office in a week and a half or so to have the rest of the mole removed. Hopefully it doesn't go too deep, because I'd rather not look like someone took a bite out of my ear. ;)

It's an odd thing, to be told you have cancer. Thank heavens it's something small, common and easily treated. But it's still a knock upside one's complacency. As a friend teased (with typical good humor), "you KNOW you're getting old, when things start turning up cancerous!" 31 isn't old of course, but I do feel the differences in my body. We are not young forever, and while that does not bother me (there are aspects of my crone years that I quite look forward to) it's still mournful to feel youth slipping away.

Isn't it funny: no matter how trite or cliche a common wisdom or common experience may be, when you find yourself in the midst of that awakening, it is nevertheless fresh and raw to you?

However even though this shines a spotlight on my body's inexorable march through time, it is juxtaposed with a recent evening of joy, rhythm and dancing. We went to a drum circle in a nearby park, and I danced for hours. It felt SO GOOD! I haven't danced like that in years. I woke the next morning sore and spent in the best way possible- the kind of spent that replaces energy with peacefulness. That evening gives me fresh hope that I can hold onto some of the vigor and joy, the vitality of youth, even as I embark on adulthood. Perhaps it took a funny little mole to remind me how very important it is to cultivate one's own joy and vitality, even in the throes of other responsibilities. It's a small reminder for a small adjustment, but OH! What a difference it makes.