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.