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Laird’s laws, CUP, the APA, and the week after Christmas

Warning: This post is mostly personal history and only a little bit of fitness and that’s mostly at the end. Skip ahead if you’re just here for fitness stories. My feelings won’t be hurt.

So in the normal run of a year, when I’m in North America, I’ve spent the week between Christmas and New Years at a conference. The day after Christmas is spent packing and traveling. Whee?

This has been true my entire adult life!

As a young student journalist we ran the annual Canadian University Press national conference from December 26th through until January 2nd at various locations across Canada. It’s why I’ve been to North Bay, Ontario and  Abbotsford, British Columbia.  Small town hotels are cheap that week and all the universities are on holiday. My favourite ritual associated with this event was New Year’s Eve, celebrating midnight across the time zones. As an Atlantic Canadian I liked that we got the early countdown.

Very happy I’m not still doing that. Google tells me that their last conference was hit by the Norwalk virus. And clearly the conference has changed. The title of 2014 is “Learn the business of journalism” and back when I attended, in the 80s, we spent most the week arguing about our statement of principles according to which the main role of the student press was to act as “an agent of social change.” We used an alternating speakers’ list, men and women, long before it was the thing to do and we coined fun phrases like “Bambi liberalism.” Now, I’m probably a Bambi liberal myself.

I worked in the national office in Ottawa as VP/Features Writer in 1985/86 and attended CUP national conferences from 1983 to 1987, I think.

I’d post pictures but thankfully that was before the age of digital photography. Here’s one of the few remaining images. Check out the typewriter! (Oh, and my teeth prior to braces in my thirties.)

During the 80s I was a student journalist working on the Dalhousie Gazette, and later in the Canadian University Press. We also lived in houses together, danced a lot, and dyed our hair funny colours. It’s true we took ourselves, our loves, our lives, our politics far too seriously. But we also had a lot of fun.

Read about CUP’s history here.

Part of my personal history is the move from journalism to philosophy and to grad school but I won’t detail the reasons here. Suffice it to say that I missed academic life and discovered the newsroom wasn’t for me. When I first heard about the American Philosophical Association’s eastern division conference held December 27th- 30th, I breathed a sigh of relief though. Something familiar!

And a kinder, gentler grown up version. I would be at home for Boxing Day and back home for New Year’s Eve. Perfect.

It’s the conference where, traditionally, philosophy has done the bulk of its hiring. And so as Department Placement Officer and later as Department Chair, I went every year and helped take part in the hiring process.

It’s not that I loved it. Flying at that time of the year is busy and often plagued with weather delays. And hiring, on either end, is a lot of work. Many years I didn’t get out of the hotel at all. But I liked seeing friends from across North America and I felt I was playing an important role, especially in a discipline with very few women.

I hated hearing academics complain about having to work the week between Christmas and New Year’s. After all, as a friend noted on Facebook, it’s not as the planes, taxis, and hotels were unstaffed. Most people go back to work after Boxing Day.

It became clear what a privileged life i lead when a teammate from soccer commented on how lucky I was. “The university is paying you to fly to New York and stay the midtown Hilton without the kids? Wow.”

Now I’m no longer Department Chair and have no reason to fly away on Boxing Day. As a regular faculty member, I’m home for the week after Christmas. Other people in my life go back to work. It’s me, teens, and dogs.

What to do? I need a new routine!

If I’d been riding at the velodrome this fall I’d be at their Christmas Camp which runs December 26-29th.

And I could fill my days with class prep for second term (and I do need to do that, January hits like a ton of bricks for an academic, all new classes and no August!) and finishing papers I have to write. I will do some of that. But chunks of time seem to require a purpose or they get wasted.

I just reread Laird’s Laws, which I love. (See Laird Hamilton’s Fitness Laws | Fitness – Health and Fitness Advice | OutsideOnline.com.) Yes, my body is a truck, not a trophy! There’s no point at which you’re done. You just keep moving.

And I liked his thoughts about fun vacations.

“Vacation is an opportunity to get in a good routine. It’s like mini boot camp. I just got back from a heli-snowboarding trip in Alaska. I’d been wanting to work on my legs, so I go up there and board all day for 12 days. If we didn’t get enough, we’d chop firewood or take hikes in deep snow. I come out of that and my legs feel strong.”

I like the idea of a focus on fitness. Rowing camp would be good.

I’m going to be treating this week as my own personal fitness bootcamp. I know the first few weeks of the university year are incredibly busy and some things slip by.

What’s my plan? Running and CrossFit, mostly. But also some dog hiking and time on the rollers. I’m working on a plan and a structure with some writing in the middle. Time off on January 1st. Perfect! This year it’s a mix of stuff in already doing but if going to regularly be around for this week, I might try make it a more structured thing.

Now it appears that CUP, like the APA, starting next year (?), has moved to the first week of January. See here. Other out of schedule and out of sorts academics and student newspaper types might want to join me!

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