Dear Fellow NAJIT-ers

Dear Fellow NAJIT-ers,

Happy September!

How the heck is it September again?!

Time. It never stops.

Jules, our fearless Editor-in-Chief, just sent me the nicest e-mail telling me he’d like to hear from me again. Eeek. I have been hiding all summer, you see. Thank you so much to my fellow NAJIT bloggers who took my absence in stride!

Now that hiding-time is over, I’m supposed to write again, but I am struggling back here in the land of Doing and Thinking.

Luckily, Janis spontaneously submitted a gem of a post just in time to save me from my writer’s block and that week’s deadline.

But here we are a week later, and I’m due a post.

So, I’ve been thinking about what to write. Something motivating, I thought. Something energetic to inspire us to enter the fall filled with vim and vigor, ready to increase speed and take on the intense challenges that our field has to offer us!

But there comes a time when one simply doesn’t have the energy for intense challenges full of vim and vigor.

So instead, I will write of the Pause.

I’m an advocate of the Pause. You see, sometimes velocity needs to be reduced, not increased. If the highway of life gets too curvy, we’ve got to slow down. To do otherwise would inevitably send us perilously off the cliff of whatever highway we are driving on, and we can’t have that.

I paused this summer. I was kind of due a Pause. First, I had a topsy-turvy tumultuous spring. Then, I flew to Fort Lauderdale to attend our annual NAJIT conference (which was wonderful, by the way! Kudos to the board and our management team!). On my way home, I came down with Covid.

If that weren’t enough, three weeks later I got slammed in the chest by the door of a car while bicycling in downtown Montreal at a speed of about 20 mph.

That was kind of the final straw. So I decided to hit the pause button. First, of course, I had to finish some work commitments that I already had. But after that, I cleared my calendar, put up an away message on my e-mail account, and actually hit the off button on my cell phone.

Of course, me being me, I don’t really stop when I stop. But I did slow down. I felt the wounds of my physical injuries. I listened to my body and worked on healing. I also felt the places in my heart where I don’t always go.

I thought a lot about my Hopes and Dreams. I’ve spent fifteen years being career-driven to the max, and there are other flowers waiting to bloom. I started planting those seeds this summer.

I meditated a lot. I cooked good meals. I spent a lot of time by myself, but I also reconnected with people who had slipped by the wayside.

In this life, we’re taught to go-go-go. We’re taught to pedal-to-the-metal and never-ever-stop.

But we can’t go full speed ahead every single day. We need pauses.

What we usually get instead are distractions. Popcorn for our brain; junk food for the mind. There is a careful, happy medium between live-in-the-woods-without-electricity and drown-your-brain-in-social-media-and-entertainment.

That happy medium can be found only when we pause. When we take the moment to actually notice our surroundings; to check in with our bodies; to turn off the distractions and listen to ourselves and what is around us. I know I paused for a whole summer (and was blessed to be able to do so) but it doesn’t always have to be so drastic. You can just pause for a day, for an hour, or even for a moment. Just stop what you are doing and listen to yourself.

What we may find inside could be  a lot of discontentment. A ton of anxiety. Fear, sometimes, and hidden anger.

And that’s where the gold is. Because inside yourself, you’ll discover your Necessary Goals. You’ll discover your Reasons Why. You’ll figure out what things are your dreams, and what things aren’t worth struggling for.

I know I’m not the only person who gets overwhelmed with work or who is anxious about proving myself professionally. Sometimes, we all need to hit the pause button and remember what we’re doing, and why.

I’m back now, in better health and moving slowly. I’m also trying to appreciate every Now that comes my way, because it won’t be here again.

Have a happy fall. Follow your dreams and be kind to yourselves!

Love,

Athena


Portrait of Athena MatilskyAthena Matilsky fell in love with languages the year she turned sixteen. She majored in Spanish interpreting/translation at Rutgers University and also studied French. After graduation, she taught elementary school in Honduras and then returned home to begin freelancing as a medical and court interpreter. She later became a staff interpreter for the NJ judiciary. She has gone on to earn certifications as a healthcare interpreter and a federal court interpreter for Spanish and as a court interpreter for French. Most recently, she received her Master’s Degree in Conference Interpreting from Glendon at York University. She currently works as an interpreter and teacher, training students to acquire the skills necessary to pass state and federal interpreting exams. When she is not writing or interpreting, you may find her practicing acroyoga or studying French. Website: www.athenaskyinterpreting.com

Main photo from “¿Sabes respirar?” (cropped) by Cristina Torres from at CENTROmujer, under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Body photo “LA FAMILIA: DERECHOS Y DEBERES” by Jorge A. Subero Isa on his blog, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

19 thoughts on “Dear Fellow NAJIT-ers”

  1. Amy Lovekin says:

    Thank you, Athena!

    1. Athena says:

      Thank you for reading, Amy!

  2. Juan Yllescas says:

    Thank you, Athena, for your words. I have been in the same boat working non stop for 18 years with multiple obligations, until recently when I had to resign from a teaching position in a school in Florida. I am currently following my dream to become a certified interpreter of the court. I hold a B.A. in Translation from U.C.A. (Universidad Centroamericana) in Managua, Nicaragua. Maybe life sent me to teaching while my heart was in translation and interpretation. Who knows!

    1. Aw, that’s wonderful! Best of luck following your dreams 🙂

  3. Vinka Valdivia says:

    I enjoyed this short article. You are right: sometimes a pause is necessary, if only to take stock of your life. I was unwillingly forced into it because of the pandemic and it has done wonders for me…even if after much stress at the beginning. I will take your lead and write about it and will submit it to NAJIT for publication.

    By the way, your story confirms for me that it was the right decision NOT TO GO to last year’s conference in person.

    1. Yes, the pandemic certainly forced us to put a pause on a LOT of things. Also, “go with the flow” took on new meaning. For the record though, I’m still glad I attended the conference. : ) Please do submit to our blog! We’re always looking for guest authors.

  4. Brad says:

    Thank you, Athena. Another great post.

    1. Thanks for your support, Brad!

  5. Seth Hammock says:

    Athena, you’re a good writer. Janis has a talent for finding good writers! Do you know about Tom Wolfe and the gonzo journalists? You’re writing is in that style.

    The go-go-go is right. After returning from Mexico this summer, it has become clear to me America has become the Big Hustle, imbued with the good and the bad.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Seth! I’m not familiar with those journalists but I’ll take it as a compliment and keep my eye out for them. 🙂 Good luck inside the Big Hustle!

  6. Silvana says:

    Thank you, Athena, for sharing such thoughtful post. So true. Sometimes, events in life such as those you shared, force us to make a “pause” in our go-go-go lives. We need those times to reconnect with our Inner Being, reassess what is really important to us and make decisions. The time is NOW as tomorrow is not guaranteed.
    Greetings from California.

    1. Greetings right back from Montreal! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. Let’s enjoy all the Nows we can.

  7. Ada G says:

    Beautiful, thank you and get well soon.

    1. Thank you, Ada! I’m feeling much better already.

  8. Robert Joe Lee says:

    All I can say is good for you and thanks!

    1. Thanks to *you*, for everything you have done for our field. Thanks, too, for reading 🙂

  9. sue ye says:

    What is ‘ Challenges full of vim and vigor’? sorry, did NOT get any full sense of what you’re trying to say, other than promoting your group on your site. care to elaborate a bit? thanks.

    1. Genevieve N. Franklin says:

      In response to Sue Ye –

      The full text is clear. The author did not write the phrase: “challenges full of vim and vigor.”

      She spoke of being ready to enter the coming season (fall) “filled with vim and vigor.”

      Then she added that she’ll feel “ready to… take on the intense challenges” of our profession.

      1. Thanks, Genevieve, for that clarification! Sue, your implications about some kind of promotion here leave me bewildered. The whole point of the article is that we can take a pause from time to time and look inside ourselves; nothing more, nothing less. I would take the time to consider an author’s intentions before pointing confrontational and potentially hurtful fingers.

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