When I decided to do some blogging tonight, my original plan was to write an entry about my first few months as a Real Life Superhero. However, I’m also going to take a look at the course of my life in general.
First of all, a few words on my Real Life Superhero adventures.
These first few months as a RLSH have been a good start! There is still so much more to do, but I feel like I’ve been making progress.
Some of the changes have taken place online. I’ve renovated my website, including at least two new pages: a RLSH page to describe the work I do, and a Causes page to describe the local, regional, national, and global causes that I support. I’ve also been talking with members of Heroes Network and RealLifeSuperheroes.org about everything under the sun.
Some of the changes have taken place offline. I’ve been spending more time working directly and indirectly with local community groups. Highlights include speaking out at public meetings in opposition to the Mayor’s suggestion that we privatize the local water supply; working with other community members to organize a new climate change group and a week of local climate change action; and starting my Donations program, which has given over $100 to local community groups and raised public awareness about the good work of these organizations.
The local media has even taken notice. An article about my work as a Real Life Superhero appeared in the Southern Illinoisan, which is the biggest newspaper in Southern Illinois. I’ve also heard that my comments at the City Council meeting made it on the local TV news, although I still haven’t seen the footage.
What really blew my mind, though, was that one of the events I was involved in organizing — the Sustainable State of the City Address — made it onto the front page of the Southern Illinoisan! For those of you who don’t know the politics of the paper (and the region), it was pretty impressive to see a story on climate change making front page.
I attribute this success to a combination of good timing, good organizing, and good reporting. Our event was held the day after the Mayor’s State of the City speech, which was also in the middle of the global climate change conference in Copenhagen. We put a lot of thought and discussion into what to include in the press release and the talks we gave, and members of the press were very responsive and did a good job of covering the story.
I especially want to thank Janet, Sarah, Barb, Katie, James, and everyone else who came to meetings and help pulled the group and events together. They’re the ones who got the ball rolling, and kept it rolling — I pretty much just showed up to meetings and tried to keep pace! It’s only a start, of course, and we have more plans in the work to continue addressing climate change on a local level. Even so, it was good to reconnect with old friends, connect with new ones, and see people from different parts of the community coming together to do what we can on such an important issue.
October, November, and early December were a rush in terms of community involvement. Once the week of climate events was over, though, it was time to slow down a bit and take stock. The students and faculty were starting their winter break, and I started a bit of a winter break of my own.
First, I spent some time with members of my “local family” — people who I don’t have any blood relation to, but who I’m close enough to that I consider them kin. I have a group of friends who I spend most Thursday nights with, and another group of friends who I spend most Sunday nights with. I spent a little extra time with each of them in mid-December, including a birthday party and a holiday party. This reminded me that I’m very blessed to have such wonderful friends, and that I love them dearly!
Then, I took the train to the distant north — a town by the name of Brookfield, on the outskirts of the legendary Land of Chicago. I spent almost a week there visiting with my mother, my stepfather, my brother, my sister-in-law, my sister, and her fiancÃ©. I also spent much of Christmas Day with my extended family on my mother’s side, including my grandmother, who has been in ill health but was able to visit the longtime family homestead for a few hours on Christmas Day.
It’s hard for me to even imagine what it must be like for my grandmother to have lived in the same house so many years. I feel at home in Carbondale because I’ve lived here for thirteen and a half years now — but that’s been spread out over half a dozen different residences! In contrast, she’s lived in that house in Bellwood for significantly longer than I’ve been alive. I think her oldest son still lived at home when they moved there, and her other children spent some or all of their childhood there. And her children brought back grandchildren to spend their holidays there.
It’s no wonder, then, that after several months going back and forth between the hospital and the assisted living facility, she was eager to go home, if only for a few hours. It took considerable effort to get her there and back, especially on a snowy and icy night. But she seemed happy to be back in her chair in her living room again, and happy to have family gathered around her for Christmas. And she even got to see a DVD with messages from a few other relatives who weren’t able to make it.
In retrospect, the whole experience has given me pause to consider many different aspects of life, and family, and so on. I don’t really have any concrete thoughts on the matter, but I’m glad she was able to make it home in spite of the difficulties, and I’m also glad that I was able to spend time with my immediate family. If I had more money, or even my own transportation, I’d visit them more often!
Speaking of money, I’d like to talk more about my money situation — or more accurately, my lack of money situation. On a brighter note, I’d also like to talk about my continuing improvements in health. This entry is already growing a bit too long, though, and I should be going to sleep soon anyway.
So, next time I’ll talk about my money woes, and my ongoing efforts to do something about them. I will also talk about my health, and how my slow but steady increase in energy and muscle mass may very well turn 2010 into the best year ever.
In the meantime, I’m off to bed. And so, Gentle Reader, I bid you a fond farewell, and wish you sweet dreams.