A Word from the Board
Your Presence is a Present

By: Laurie Geiger, Secretary

Well, here I am, another day of sitting in my small condo with my trusty assistant, Star, lying on my laptop as she does every day all day.  She’s my four-legged, fluffy, underpaid co-worker. I never thought my cat could be a role model for me. As I lament the loss of the things I once took for granted or even complained about, she seems to think this stay-at-home deal is the best thing since catnip. Every morning, when she realizes it’s time to get to work, she runs over to my desk and bolts up onto it, sliding across the papers, to perch herself on my warm laptop. She sets up for the day and stays there until late into the night, just in case she’s needed. 

Her enthusiasm helps me see that there is good in everything, even great change. Sometimes I must work at seeing the bright side of all that this crazy year has brought us, while Star shows me that it is easy. Just take it as it comes, find your new place and perch there for a while, making yourself useful. Your presence is a present to others, even if you’re just keeping them company and putting smiles on their faces.

In this strange time, being present for others might mean showing up in-person, but more likely it means attending online, at least for now. A couple months ago, I was attending an online society workshop, and during the Ice Breaker event, where a couple were playing musical instruments from their home, I realized something. Sure, I was there to enjoy the music, but suddenly I was aware of the symbiotic nature of what was going on. 

Online events are a strange thing. It really does matter whether or not other people are there on the other end of the line. We are mirrors and canvases for others, and the contribution of our time, attention, feedback, ideas, opinions, talents and more are some of what our personal and professional lives are about. In 2021, I commit to connecting and participating more, for myself and others.

At times you probably feel the same as I do when I cannot even think about attending one more online event or presentation, after sitting at my desk all day. I’m sure you have come up with ways of keeping up your motivation.  I have discovered a few remedies for this myself. During an online event, simply unplugging my laptop from its docking station and moving to another room for a few presentations recharges me. Several years ago I received as a gift a little, easy-to-use device called Chromecast which plugs into my TV and allows me to wirelessly show videos from my phone or laptop. Technical presentations such as those given at GSH lunch meetings show very well on a large TV screen, as the images, such as seismic and velocity models, are beautiful! Also, I get to sit on the couch instead of just staying at my desk. Shaking things up a bit works wonders!

Years ago, my mother and I were riding in the car together, and we saw a fit woman jogging next to the road.  My mystified mother said, “Why is she running; she’s already fit?” I just laughed. As with our bodies, our minds need regular maintenance to stay fit. Keeping up with our mental maintenance can be especially challenging when most events are online. It’s tempting to put off our attendance until in-person events come back. 

Yes, regarding the current state of affairs due to the villainous virus, this too shall pass, but we need to stay professionally fit for now and for when things open up. Being present and participating is a way all of us can stay fit and give back to each other at the same time.  We’ll be ready when the old normal returns. 

See you there!