Tag Archives: 2017

New Year, Old Question

Think for YourselfHere goes nothing. The new school year is upon us. In late June, I accepted a position teaching Spanish and world history at an alternative high school. At this point, as I have completed several professional development sessions and prepared my classroom with my colleagues, I can safely say that I feel right at home. I am eager to meet my students on Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

This upcoming school year is the culmination of several years of taking dozens classes at both the local community college and university, seemingly endless testing, and hundreds of hours in countless classrooms both as a student teacher and a substitute teacher. I am as ready as I will ever be. While it would be a flat out lie to say that I am not nervous, I can safely say that I prepared. Better yet, I am excited.

Over the last five years, I found my way out of depression and an awful relationship. I didn’t focus on anything other than completing my education and training to become a teacher. I am now well on my way to becoming “me” again. The questions I face now are as personal as it gets. I am now where I want to be with my career. I just need to stay on my current path. The same cannot be said for my personal life. Frankly, I am unsure of what I want anymore. It is true that I want more than anything to be a mom. That is non-negotiable. I will adopt. Beyond that, I do not know.

The details get me. I find myself wondering if I truly want to do this alone. I know I can do this on my own, but when I am completely honest, I do not want to raise a child alone. It doesn’t mean that I won’t or can’t do it alone. I know I can, and I will. At the same time, I want a man in my life that I can count on. I want someone to share all of this with day in, day out – an actual partner. For several reasons, many of which are way too personal to share here, I don’t see it happening. My instinct is to be as happy as possible alone, focusing on what I want and starting a family alone. I am afraid of shutting the right man out. It feels as though I am caught between doing nothing and risking utter humiliation. Again.

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Perception Is Reality

One of my former bosses used to say that perception is reality. At the time, I didn’t fully agree, but the more I thought about it, the more I recognized the fundamental truth in that saying. It goes along with the saying “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right” (Henry Ford). I have to keep telling myself this, but it goes beyond personal plans and self-determination. I took it a step further and realized that it definitely applies to politics.

Without getting too overtly political, all I can say is that whomever controls the narrative controls the perception of reality. This is why fake news and outright media bias is so dangerous. Does it happen on both sides? Yes, of course. I’ll leave it up to my smart readers to determine where the truth actually lies. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that this gets to the heart of my political beliefs. It gets to why I believe what I believe. This is also why it is so difficult to change another’s political opinions.

More than anything, I am truly tired of people telling others what they should believe. Excuse me, am I not capable of making my own well-supported decisions? It doesn’t matter if it is politics or something else, I will not blindly follow anyone or anything. Will people try to persuade one another? Sure. No problem. I am always willing to listen to a well thought-out opinion. That is not what I am discussing here. I am talking about the arguments used by many that state if you are x, y, and/or z (for example, a woman, college educated, etc.), you must believe 1, 2, and/or 3 and lockstep with this politician or political party. It happens. It happens every single day.

This entire idea can be taken one step further. It explains some detrimental beliefs we have in our society. The one I want to talk about here is the belief that everyone needs a college education. While I don’t necessarily believe that college is for everyone, I do believe that everyone needs some kind of additional training or education after high school. Unfortunately, we as a society place a much higher value on a four year college degree than we do trade school experiences. The sad thing is that we need people to become electricians, plumbers, builders, and so much more. There are many people out there who much rather work with their hands than do straight academics. Unfortunately, many of those students are talked into four year degrees when they might be much happier learning a trade. In the end, our society loses. We have gutted the trades, and those who pursued a traditional four year degree instead are left with a mountain of unnecessary debt. By the way, there are so many other examples.  This just happened to be the least controversial example I could think of at the moment.

I suppose my biggest frustration is that so many people do not base their perceptions on the truth. The truth doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. This sad fact is precisely why we are not resolving any of our political, economic, or social issues. No one wants to listen to anyone else.

Focus

focusThis sums up my 2017 so far. I intended to chose a word for the year, but never did. In fact, I am still working on my word for 2016: Home. Have I made progress? Yes. Unfortunately, I am not quite there yet. I suppose it is for the best. There is still so much to do. I still have so many things to go through and do before I can truly say that I have turned this house into a home.

Right now, I need to focus to finish everything I’ve started. There is so much going on with my education and teaching career, the canoe livery, my family, and the wonderful organizations to which I belong that I find myself constantly reorganizing or changing dates if necessary. I love it. What would I do if I didn’t have such a full life? I honestly have no idea.

This is exactly why I question whether or not I even want to be in a relationship. I’m not quite sure how it would even work. Considering my plans to foster to adopt, I should make the most of these last few years of living alone. It is nice not having to answer to anyone or to be responsible for anyone else. I am increasingly aware that it will not always be this way. On the other hand, maybe I take everything in my life way too seriously.

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In Like A Lion

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The best of intentions don’t always work. I intended to start blogging again in January. It just didn’t happen. Life happened. So far in 2017, Grandma Reid passed away, I’ve finally been matched with a little sister through Big Brothers, Big Sisters, and my exam schedule for my teacher certification tests is set (one down, three more to go!). There is no easy way to write about my life at the moment. I’m not quite ready to write about Grandma Reid yet – although I will one day. I can’t write about all of the wonderful experiences I am having with my little sister – at least not in a way that is true to the whole story. I understand why, certainly, but it could be such a fun topic. As far as my career is concerned, nothing can really change until all of my tests are complete. Instead, I am going to have to focus on blogging about reading and writing for the moment.

I’ve read so many great books lately, thanks to book club and my sister. Reading is becoming a habit again, and I am a better person for it. Finally reading has largely replaced TV and movies in my life. I can’t ask for much more than that. As I have said before, I need to go back to keeping a list of books I’ve read. I want to share them with all of you. By listing the books I read on my blog, I became an intentional reader. I still am. I need to get back to sharing what I read. I plan on eventually sharing book reviews on GoodReads as well.

Writing is another story entirely. I always miss it when I don’t write. I need to write. Even though I’ve owned Scrivener for over a year, I finally took the time to go through the entire tutorial and learn how to use it properly. I don’t think I will be without it ever again. I love it, and it is exactly what every writer needs. The capacity built into Scrivener to meet the needs of almost any type of writer imaginable is mind-boggling. It becomes apparent once you go through the tutorial and start using the program just how customizable it truly is.

At the advice of a friend, I’ve also started using 750words.com. The verdict is still out. I do like the idea of free writing 750 words each and every day without it having to be used for a polished piece of writing. I’ve also been exploring RedNotebook, which I’ve been using as a personal journal. In fact, you can actually create numerous journals. It is basic, but great for creating lists too.

In April I hope to attend at least a couple of writers’ conferences. Nothing is settled yet, but the reality is that I could attend writers’ conferences every weekend in April, with the exception of Easter weekend, if I wanted to do so. I ask myself why I go, and then as soon as it is over, I realize that I always take away something useful. In fact, one of the reasons why I am so excited about these particular conferences is due to a possible opportunity to present on education for writers in an upcoming workshop this fall. If nothing else, I will take away something. There are other things going on behind the scenes as well, as always. So many things to do and never enough time!

As a future teacher, I can only hope to reach a point in my career where I can tell it like it is, only with slightly more tact.

As a future teacher, I can only hope to reach a point in my career where I can tell it like it is, only with slightly more tact.