Still seems strange to report, but master competitor achieved "final clearance" on his dissertation and is now a doctor of philosophy.
Dr. Mueller is in the house.
Have to admit there's a vacuum on the back side of this accomplishment. The striving and work and effort and setbacks all blend together and the journey is past. It's now in the rear view mirror and new things are ahead. There's a completeness to it, a sense that this novel has been read and it's time to start a new chapter in the book of life.
Running and cycling help me process these thoughts. There's something about a casual jog along my favorite roads and trails that aid in synthesizing a complex time with many unknown variables.
What I have sensed most in the past few days is a desire to think less of self and help others. Whether it's endurance sports or students at Appalachian State or new friends who cross my path, I want to contribute to their lives. The 3-year PhD journey brought pain and laughter and emotional upheavals, which are now all elements of the tool kit I bring forward.
Tommy Terrific isn't better or worse, he's just different. A unique set of experiences has made me something more than I was before. And for that I'm grateful.