Decide What to Be and Go Be It

img_5366When I decided to work part-time instead of full-time this year, I envisioned having all kinds of time to run, cook, write, and do all of the other things that full-time teachers never have the time to do. And though I have managed to keep myself quite busy in the last few months with a couple of hourly teaching gigs, it would be disingenuous to say that I haven’t had time to write. In fact, I have – there has been plenty of time, actually, but my motivation and inspiration to do so has been woefully lacking. 

Hours upon hours that could have been devoted to writing in the last months have instead been replaced with an unusually high consumption of news… news that can potentially, and often does, when I allow it to, dictate the mood of my days. I suppose this is the danger of having news so readily available at our fingertips, coupled with more free time than usual to read. It can get to you after a while, one God-awful story after the next, from all corners of the world, not to mention the continuing aftermath of our recent elections, which never fails to boggle my mind.

I’m afraid I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in a web of news and opinions and predictions about the future, crossing the fine line between staying informed and allowing thoughts of doom and gloom to infiltrate my own peace of mind. Frozen with worry about where humanity is headed, I had nearly forgotten about this little space: my own little online sanctuary, where some of my greatest life experiences and photos exist. And here I am, nearly three full months since my last post, a whole season come and gone. With winter upon us tomorrow, I thought it seemed appropriate to reflect on the last three months and share a few glimpses of the beautiful autumn we had in Riga, in spite of the impending Doomsday that seems to brewing all around us.

The last three months in Riga have been cozy ones, filled with crisp, autumn breezes with wafts of smoke from nearby chimneys, and punctuated with bright colors: the rich orange and yellow hues of changing leaves and bright pink sunsets sprawling across the sky, just a few minutes earlier with each passing day. Flocks of seagulls still make themselves known through their cries over the river as we walk our dog along the cobblestoned street of our neighborhood. We have even had quite a lot of snow, eight inches of which greeted us the morning after Halloween. I have enjoyed these sights and sounds and smells, whether walking to and from school, running on the river trails, or simply looking out the window. They have brought me some calm in the midst of what in many ways feels like the most turbulent time of my generation, a reminder of the Avett Brothers’ words in one of my favorite songs:

When nothing is owed, deserved, or expected, 
Your life doesn’t change by the man that’s elected,
If you’re loved by someone, you’re never rejected, 
Decide what to be, and go be it.

So, while I still don’t have much to say, or perhaps more accurately, the motivation to articulate my thoughts, I’m following the advice I so often give my students, and that is simply to write. And in the absence of writing anything of particular interest, here are a few photos from the passing season, on this eve of winter, to renew my commitment to writing, and to deciding what to be, and then being it.


A sunny, gorgeous start to October in our quaint neighborhood, and a street I will never forget, with many miles walked and run on these cobblestones in the last year and a half.


My morning commute through Kronvalda Park to my part-time teaching job in Riga’s city center.


The most beautiful tree in Kipsala, set against the clear blue of water and sky.


M. and I celebrate our finishes of the Sigulda half marathon and 5K, October 8.


On October 11, we celebrated another wonderful year with our loyal companion, Frieda. I made her some peanut butter and sweet potato pupcakes.


The colors change in Kronvalda Park as November nears.


Riga’s Dome Cathedral on a clear autumn afternoon.


Fall leaves decorate the cobblestones as the sun hovers behind me.


The surprising scene from our upstairs window on the morning of November 4… a bit earlier than expected, but beautiful nonetheless.


Frieda waits expectantly to gallop through the snow.


November snowfall in Kipsala.


With long pants and traction aids, running in the snow is a breeze.


Sunset in Pinki, where I tutor a couple of students a few afternoons a week.


Late November after-school commute from my morning teaching job in Riga.


The snow-covered banks of Riga’s city canal on a sunny late November morning.

Thank you for reading!

8 thoughts on “Decide What to Be and Go Be It

  1. Loved this post! The sentiment of having time but lacking inspiration/motivation, the gorgeous photos (very jealous of your picturesque neighborhood), and most of all, the Avett Brothers’ lyric. That’s one of my favorite songs too. Thanks for writing and keep it up!


  2. This is such a beautiful post, and is also very thought provoking. I hope you find what you want to be, but also know that you already are… and that is something wonderful in itself as well.


  3. Beautiful thoughts and photographs, as ever. This world is still pretty wonderful, and most of the people in it are inherently good, though that can be so easy to forget. Thankfully I am surrounded by exceedingly kind people in Taipei, which has been a huge help for my psyche. Maybe a visit here is in order! 🙂


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