This Is 43

Estimated Reading Time: 10.5 minutes

So it's that time again. On my birthday each year, I do a share out about the year and think about what is ahead. This is apparently year #5 and you can see the others below.

Let's start with some of the miscellaneous details I've collected over the years here, shall we?

Home:  Cranston, RI
Relationship status:  Married (9+ years)
Cats Owned:  2 (Bear and Pumpkin)
Other Pets:  1 mud turtle (MJ, 36'ish years old)
Degrees earned: 5 (3 masters, 1 bachelor, 1 associate)
Degree working on:  PhD in Higher Education
Credits Completed Toward Dissertation: 72 out of 72.
Reading since Sept 2021:  305 (Latest reads can always be found on Goodreads)
  1. Director of Digital Pedagogy at College Unbound (full-time) 
    A selfie of Lance Eaton
  2. Adjunct Academic Partner at Southern New Hampshire University
  3. Teaching courses at North Shore Community College
Weight:  245 pounds
Longest Distance Run This Year: 13.10 (5/1/2022)
Fastest Pace This Year: 26.50 (5K on 7/10/2022)
Runs in the last year: 272
Miles run in the last year: 1361.17
Miles on the bicycle in the last year: 1519.58
Blog Posts in the last year:  47
Blog Pageviews: 93,000
Blog Subscribers: 101
Blog Visitors: 65,407
Facebook Friends: 770
LinkedIn Connections: 1570
Twitter Followers:  1473
YouTube Channel Subscribers:  2,477 on my personal channel; 77 on my work channel
Website Domains owned:  4

Favorite Blog Posts of the Year

  • The New LMS Rule: This past year was busy and most of my other posts were book reviews.  Here's hoping 43 gives me more space to write more here.
  • The Updates:  I started this series last month as a way to get back into blogging.  It's a weekly update focusing on several different aspects of my life including work, my dissertation, recent reads, and meandering thoughts.  
  • Research Study for Scholars Is Underway! Well, this one because, well, it means that I'm finally doing the research study for my dissertation and that is amazing!  If you can share the call for participants, I would be so grateful!

Looking Back

When I first read that 42 was the meaning of life, the universe, and everything, I thought Douglas Adams was messing with all of us.  But apparently, my 42 trip around the sound was pretty high up there on the list of amazing years of my life.  

Professional Changes

I started a new job that I'm still incredibly in love with and satisfied by. I have amazing coworkers who are caring, thoughtful, smart, and (rightfully) provocative. They show me how to be a better person and are incredibly great to be in community with. I work at an organization that tries to constantly to challenge itself on the work it does (and doesn't). I have leadership that encourages us to challenge them and for us to figure out issues to make our work better.  I'm excited to work with faculty and students and staff.  I'm also pushed to take on big challenges including migrating the institution to a new learning management system.  

In fact, that has been a hard and expansive challenge this year--leading an organization to move from Google Classroom to Moodle--over 70 faculty, hundreds of students, and a staff of 25-30 folks.  While not perfect, I feel like I've done a strong job of trying to do well by everyone and giving the support, guidance, and leadership needed to make it successful. 

In total, it feels like I work at a place where the work and the people matter and that makes so much of what I do so energizing.  

In terms of my dissertation, it was also a HUGE year!  I finally finished chapter 3, defended my dissertation proposal, got IRB approval, and did my first 3 pilot interviews. Now, I'm actually doing my call for participants. It's not that I didn't think I would make it here but it felt so abstract; now, it's real.  There's lots of people I have to thank but I have one app to thank for this and that is FocusMate (I'll be writing a future blog post on this!).  

Home life

The home life was also an intense and amazing year.  With the new job, my partner and I ended up buying a new house in Cranston, RI (right on the Providence line--as in "I can see Providence from my house). Like being at the information collection point with my dissertation, the idea of owning a home felt always illusive and unlikely, but a lot of stars aligned for us to own a house that we both absolutely love. It's the right size for us, the cats, and the turtle; perfectly positioned close to work and with easy access to the Roger Williams Park.  

This was also another stellar year for the garden with the kindness of our neighbor who let me use her yard for a highly productive garden.  (Our yard doesn't have much sun and is not set up well for it).  There's a lot for me to learn to do better next year but we had tons of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and greens.  

Settling into Rhode Island has been good but a bit of a challenge.  In the first half of the year, Omnicron was still raging which made us hesitant to go to a lot of things.  We've started to explore the state more and have gotten to make more friends but it's slow going.  Because we're still close to Massachusetts, we obviously want to stay connected and spend time with our friends up there.  Yet, then it limits our opportunity to find friends who are right around the corner and at times, easier to access and connect with (instead of trips that require a 1-1.5 hour trip one way).  I'm hoping as I finish my dissertation that I can also get more involved in my community and make new friends and connections that way too.  


I've managed to stay physically active this past year with lots of running and cycling.  I even got back to do a few races this year including two half-marathons. I'm hoping to keep that up as I really do miss it.  I'm also trying to do some more strength training as I feel like my body is craving a mixture of that and yoga or more stretching exercises.  

Currently, I'm working through some plantar fasciitis which isn't fun but not entirely surprising given the amount of running and the kinds of shoes I usually use.  It's one of those signs of needing to take better care of myself and also a recognition of my body changing as I get older (gasp!).

My weight has been fluctuating in the high 240s and even low 250s; an area that I'm not comfortable with in general and also with how it (literally) weighs on me.  I know a good deal of it has been stress (gut weight and stress/emotional eating). I'm hoping that as life returns to a less intense baseline in the next year that this will also change and that I'll be able to give more attention to it.  I've been doing some mental/emotional work on it, having started seeing a therapist last year before I moved and finding a new one (new insurance didn't take the other therapist) in the area.  There's a lot to unpack around the stress, my body, and my eating so I imagine it will take a while; it's all right, I have time.  

Other than that, life is going well and I'm excited to see what year 43 brings!

Looking ahead

Speaking of what 43 brings--I have so much to look forward to,  First, it's another year with College Unbound and the next challenges to tackle, new ways to collaborate, and new possibilities to learn.  I'm also excited to explore more and get to know more of Rhode Island and people in my community.  I also am praying by this time next year, I am sharing that my dissertation is done.  I *think* it will happen.  

Beyond that, I'm hoping to do a bit more around future-thinking. I'm currently reading a book that is making me think about future-casting and while I'm not interested in doing this in a capacity that others do it, I feel like it is a skill that would be helpful for my life and my work.

See you next year!

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