On the Brink
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been a bit out of sorts (as the Brits would say), but haven’t really been able to pinpoint why. We’re in our new offices, the weather is gorgeous, we’re prepped and excited for our upcoming annual conference in Fort Worth (June 17th-21st), and we’re making headway on some of our priority advocacy issues.
Before sitting down to write this blog, I forced myself to undertake a bit of introspection. In so doing, I realized I feel unsettled because there are several things pending and I feel a bit “on the brink” of some actions or decisions. For me, this is an uncomfortable place to be. For example, my older dog, Lily, whom I have written about in this blog before, has gone downhill quite a bit in recent days and I am on the brink of making the difficult decision to end her life. What a sad, but also incredibly humane thing to be able to do when necessary. Despite the logical decision, I am torn up about it and my husband and I are working with my girls to absorb what it means. We lost our Jack Russell, Scotty, about five and a half years ago, but neither of my girls were old enough to understand/feel the loss.
My vet lent me a book called “When a Pet Dies,” written by Fred Rogers (yes, Mr. Rogers) circa 1980. I kid you not, it is awesome at detailing how to help kids handle the loss of a pet. Reading through it also reminded me of a simple truth about grief/sadness/loss of any kind – we must allow ourselves to feel the loss and be sad while at the same time not wallowing in the sadness such that we start to feel sorry for ourselves or spiral down into anger or ongoing self-absorption. Growing up as a military brat, I had a hard time with the former. And, the balance is hard to achieve at any age.
Another personally disquieting fact is my impending 30th high school reunion – to go or not to go? I remember thinking my mom was ancient when she was planning on attending her 20th high school reunion. As an aside, is there a term for someone beyond ancient? Ha! I think I will go because I am actually excited to see my high school friends and what they have been up to since my 20th reunion and to reconnect with these people who knew me when…I think, maybe, part of my unease has lied in facing the bald-faced middle-agedness of it all. And, perhaps equally disquieting is the fact that my oldest daughter is “graduating” from fifth grade – truly on the brink of the pre-teen, middle-school drama that I would love to be able to shield her from, but know that I cannot.
In writing down just these few things, they point to being able to look back, take stock of all that I have done and that my husband, kids, friends, colleagues, and pets have done, while also being able to look forward with fresh eyes and confidence. I was having a hard time with this concept and maybe feeling a bit weighed down.
Applying this logic to UTC, there is so much we have done, even just in the last six months, from both an operational/internal standpoint and from and external affairs standpoint. I believe we are on the brink of breaking through barriers to good policymaking at the Federal Communications Commission via better education on the key issues and strong interest by powerful allies who understand the critical services provided by energy and water utilities. And I know we are on the brink of an amazing annual conference where our members will learn from each other and from the conference program. The bottom line…being on the brink of action, whether easy or difficult, can be unsettling, but if addressed in the right way, can cause us to break through to better things. Until we meet again…in Fort Worth!