The Best Laid Plans of a Dude with 12 Weeks

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

– Adapted from “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns

Your boy had big plans, y’all.

For most of April and May, I spoke with glee about the 12-week sabbatical I was taking this summer. The details changed over time, including what I’d be doing after the 12 weeks, but I was prepared to do all the things. If you had a conversation with me at any point during the Spring, you probably heard some variation of the following:

“I’m definitely gonna take some time to travel, spend time with my ladies, and grill all the meats. I’ve got a few things I wanna get done around the house, and I want to do some volunteer work in the community. I also want to take some time to write, as well as think about what I wanna do professionally in the coming years.”

As I moved closer to May, I started getting a little crazy. I created a hashtag (#12WeeksOfSomething), and I may-or-may-not have mentioned weekly themes that I would post about on social media.

Yeah, that shit didn’t happen.

But I did end up doing a lot of stuff during the 12 weeks. What follows is an assessment of how closely I met the standards I set for my 12-week sabbatical:

“I’m definitely gonna take some time to travel…” (Met Standard)

My top travel priority was known to my entire family when I purchased Lonely Planet’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest during the Holidays. I also wanted to travel to Austin to catch up with friends and grill lots of beef. Check and check. I had my fingers crossed that I might be able to add a bonus trip to New Orleans (crowd favorite) to new places like West Virginia, or Detroit . I’ll have to work those trips in later.

“…Spend time with my ladies,…” (Met Standard)

I got a good amount of time with my girls this summer through thrice-a-week trips to Hernando for gymnastics practice. We also made several very delicious Dinnerly meals! The time devoted to local camps, pool parties, and family time went by way too quickly, but we had a great time.

“…Grill all the meats.” (Exceeded Standard)

My grilling adventures were highlighted by two important experiences. The first was my introduction to “costillas”. Finding out that these sliced short ribs an regularly be found at the Clarksdale Walmart has led to several D.E.A.G. (Drop Everything and Grill) afternoons. The second experience was Whole 30, which gave me an opportunity to grill meat AND lose 15 pounds! It made up for losing a month of breakfast carbs.

“I’ve got a few things I wanna get done around the house…” (Partially Met Standard)

I’m not saying that I didn’t do the big things on my list. I’m just saying that…it took longer to get things done than I expected. For example, I’m typing this on the new home office desk that I recently put together (I’m talkin’ VERY RECENTLY put together…there’s an allen wrench beside my laptop). And I promise to put out mulch once it gets cooler. I promise. 🙂

“…And I want to do some volunteer work in the community.” (Dunked On The Standard)

Being the chair of the City Election Commission is usually pretty uneventful. As with most elections in the Delta, the real action is usually over in the Democratic primary. But when there’s a special election, particularly one held on the same day as the county election, things get pretty interesting (and busy)! The Commission did a lot of work to pull that election off, but it was a ton of fun! I also learned how to open and close voting machines.

“I also want to take some time to write…” (Met Standard)

So I started a blog called Notes from the Cookout

“…Think about what I wanna do professionally in the years ahead.” (Partially Met Standard)

If you would’ve asked me in May, I would’ve told you that I’d know exactly what direction I was headed by August. Honestly, I’m still all over the place right now. In the course of a week, I give serious thought to staying in ed policy, returning to the world of sex ed, teaching (maybe at the higher ed level), or working in politics. While it’s been very exciting to explore all the different possibilities, it becomes a challenge when you wanna do all the things.

I’m doing some consulting work right now, and there are some exciting opportunities that I’ll pursue in the months ahead. I’ve had several conversations with some pretty amazing during these 12 weeks, and I hope to have a better idea of the road ahead by the time I enter the fall. I also hope that Auburn is still in contention for winning the SEC at that point as well. I guess we’ll see.

Not a bad sabbatical, right? I saw new things, learned some stuff, and kept myself busy. It was a great way to spend 12 weeks, and I’m really excited to figure out what’s next.

To be continued…

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