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Research & Rebranding


Hi all! Wow, it’s been a bit and though it’s not from lack of wanting to blog/journal/write, it’s just been very low on my priority list. My days are currently spent working 40+ hours a week through my many professional ventures, being a full-time student as I attempt the rigors of a doctorate program, being a solo mom to three beautiful, fun, funny, and very active children, and, more recently, trying to figure out a way to save our world’s oceans through my many diving/research/team exploits.


Life feels very full these last few years and I’m only able to accomplish as much as I do by staying very organized and keeping a very tight schedule of how/when I get things done - and by calling on my incredible network of best friends and very patient boyfriend - for help. Even when it drives them crazy. An actual recent conversation: Friend: “Can you meet up for dinner next week?” Me: I literally have something every single night for the next three weeks. How about 6PM on the second Tuesday of next month?” I know all of you moms (and some dads) can relate to this. This isn’t something unique to my life, as many of us feel very “busy” these days. Why is that? Do you think generationally speaking we’re busier now than we ever have been? Do you think the way we live and experience life has changed, or do you think we’re just “at that age” where we notice it more because we’re juggling our own schedules as well as our kids, our spouse/partner’s, and those we’re responsible for? Do we pack our days to feel important, or is it a necessity to survive and potentially push ourselves forward? The truth is, I think it’s a combination of all of the above, for me at least. I feel most accomplished when I stay busy and productive, but I also really enjoy it. I feel like I only have a small amount of time here and I don’t want to waste a single minute of it so I pack as much as I can into my schedule. I also worry about money, and about time. If I don’t take these trips and make these memories with the kids now, what if something happens to me and this was our last opportunity to do it? I recognize this is potentially a trauma response to my husband’s premature death, but it’s still real to me/us, and I still worry about it. Personal fulfillment is also a component of this. I feel satisfied when I look at my schedule and see it packed. This means I’m being productive, and things are getting done. Is that odd? It’s okay if it is, it’s how I feel. I like knowing I have a busy day ahead of me. Anyway, those are just a few random Wednesday afternoon ramblings I wanted to jot down as I avoid working on an abstract for school. In other news, I’ve signed on to a team of explorers, researchers, and divers visiting Antarctica in February! I’ll be working with the science teams to collect water samples testing for different properties, as well as snorkeling to collect samples of jellyfish, phyto, and zoo plankton species in the water column. (You can read more about my expedition here: https://gofund.me/c46e4a17) To say I’m excited would be such an understatement, but it also still feels very far away so I’m trying to pace myself. I will also be gone and away from the kids with very little ability to communicate for nearly three weeks so with this comes an insane amount of anxiety I’m just not quite ready to work through, yet. Antarctica is the only continent I haven’t visited and to know I’m going to get to see it with my won eyes in just a few short months is MIND BLOWING! I’m also trying to find a way to turn this into a research question for my dissertation so it’ll be a little mix of fun, work, school, and all the good stuff. To be a part of research taking place in these polar regions is just something I can't get used to. I nerd out every single time I think about. I get to be a part of the science books, journal, blogs, articles, social media accounts I follow and find so fascinating. I get to work with scientists, researchers, educators, divers, and people who are publishing this material in the books my children will be reading. I get to be a part of inspiring other "me's" to become a part of this all. I just can’t believe it. Until then, I’m trying to get as much cold-water diving in here in the Pacific Northwest, and to mentally and emotionally prepare myself for the experience ahead. Even the planning part has been so enjoyable, getting to work with my team to plan, daydream, ask questions, and work work toward solutions. I'm so lucky to have had the opportunity to cross paths with such incredible, intelligent, driven, adventurous explorers who love the ocean as much as I do. I still have "pinch me" moments even as it's the life I'm living. Okay, this is all for now. I’ve decided I’m going to just write whatever is on my mind and post it so feel free to read, delete, comment, or ask questions as you’d like. This is my personal rebranding of sorts. I think we all should actually take the time to do this from time to time. More on this next time. For the purpose of this though, I might speak about my life as a widow, I might speak about my life as a mom, I might talk about being a polar explorer, or a student, about how I'd like to lose 40 pounds, or about something really great I ate for lunch. I might talk about how hard life is sometimes, how relationships can be difficult, and great, how expensive it is to live, or maybe even how fun it was at 29 years old to get drunk on vodka slushies but now the thought of even one gives me a gnarly headache. This is my space and I invite you to interact as much, or as little as you’d like. :) xo,

Ash




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