Friday, March 16, 2012

Where Do I Go From Here?

For the past two days, I have been at a gifted education conference for differentiated instruction.  It seems like I returned from one trip to unpack, do laundry, attend work for a few days, then ship out again.  For this conference, I brought along high expectations of uncovering more secrets about myself.

For those of you that didn't know me when I was younger, I was pretty darn gifted.  I was an extremely intelligent and motivated creature, and always had a willingness to push farther and reach lofty goals.  Looking at me now: I am still motivated, and pretty darn persistent.  I worry that the "giftedness" is gone though.  I know that a lot of information came back to me post-accident, but it seems my processing just isn't as quick as it used to be.  My mother commented that it's probably only noticeable to me--that most people still see me as sharp and able to do incredible things.  Gee, thanks mom... I think you HAVE to say that... :-)

Anyway, back to the conference.  While I was there, I met incredibly interesting people and brought a wealth of information home to use on creating a motivating and autonomous environment for my students.  It really made me reflect on what made me so different from some kids I teach.  My upbringing wasn't perfect--we lived in poverty in the beginning.  My parents each worked multiple jobs for us to get by, and I have plenty of pictures of myself as a toddler resembling "trailer trash."  One of the differences I noticed was that there were always books EVERYWHERE.  I remember taking the TCAP test survey and commenting that I had more books than the largest choice on the survey, and wondered what I was supposed to choose for an answer.  I also know that my parents were excited and motivated to learn, and weren't afraid of making mistakes.  I believe this was a major difference in how I ended up being so freakin' awesome.  They taught me to get out there and explore--the worst thing that could happen was that I failed.  At least it would be fun along the way!

I wish I could say that's how it really happened.  In reality, I was a fairly tightly-wound young person.  I wanted everything perfect, and I was terrified of making a mistake.  I was afraid of the world around me, but I desperately wanted to join it.  I was intimidated by college, because I knew there were people smarter than me and I wouldn't always be the best.  I didn't really know my "place" in everything, and it scared me.  I craved order and hierarchy. Mass chaos was terrifying.

The accident was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.  I know it's strange to say, but I learned to loosen up, take risks, make mistakes, and enjoy life.  I learned to try new things and explore the world around me.  I broke out of my shell and decided that I was going to get involved in everything I could get my hands on.  I will tell you that many days I am exhausted, but I am ENJOYING life.  It's really a great concept. More people should do it.... :-)

I glanced at my calendar at the start of the conference today... March 16th... That means 8 months until I turn 30.  I have 8 months to complete my list.  I can't believe all of the cool things I have done so far, and I still have 8 months to go!  I am still working on the race and reading my list of books (I need to start updating on my progress).  Drum lessons have gone smashingly (yes, pun intended), and I am lining up my road trip and fish-catching excursion.  I am working on all the other adventures as well, and have quite a great 8 months planned.

And more great news? I had been working on a writing project. Actually it's a book idea, and I traveled to talk with people about the project.  I have been put in contact with publishers, and people are arranging interviews.  Everything seems to fall into place for this project, mostly because I believe they are stories that need to be told, and people do want to read them.  I also feel that a fine legacy of mine would be to publish stories for people to read for generations to come.  I am beyond thrilled of this opportunity, and wonder if I will get to sleep tonight. :-)

I also got accepted into graduate school for a second Masters Degree.  Now that I have so many great options, I need to start making decisions.  Life is a process, and I know there's time to get everything done.  No rush- I am more about the journey than the destination.

I am now looking out into the future, and can't even imagine all of my options.  Ultimately, I have every choice in the world laid before me.  Every day I ask myself, "where will I go from here?"

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