No (Wo)Man Is an Island

“Leslie is a loner.  She does not play well with the other children.”  I don’t think I was meant to see that. Okay, I know I wasn’t supposed to see it, but I did. My sixth grade teacher wrote that statement in my school file. That was her observation at the end of the year. I saw it and was bothered, but I knew there was some truth to what she said. I am a loner. I didn’t always play well with other children. I’ve always been an introvert though many will disagree.  As a child, trying to get others to be my friend was hard.  I had a few, so I felt I was okay.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to moderate an EduMatch Tweet and Talk hosted by my friend Sarah Thomas.  Sarah has been doing the Tweet and Talks for a couple of months now. I have enjoyed being a panelist, and last night was my first time moderating the Google Hangout. I had suggested a topic to Sarah, and she suggested that I be the moderator. Being me, I was excited and reluctant. Excited because I want to branch out and connect with others but yet I was reluctant because I am afraid of branching out and connecting with others.  Makes no sense, I know.

During the course of the broadcast, I realized I missed talking with my PLN. I know how powerful Twitter and Voxer can be, but I found myself withdrawing into Leslie’s world over the last couple of months. I had gotten away from the Twitter chats and the Voxer groups partly because I have been incredibly busy but also because I have a tendency to seclude myself. As an instructional technology coach, I can’t do that. There is so much out there I need to know about. There are so many educators who are doing phenomenal things, and I am missing out because I am stuck in Leslie’s world. It’s not a bad place, but it’s not where I need to be all day every day. I miss asking questions about how to do something and getting different perspectives from others who are in the trenches just like I am. I also just miss the interaction.

What does that mean for me? I guess it means I have to make more of a deliberate effort to get re-connected to my PLN. I have questions about what I am doing and people in my PLN can help me navigate the ever-changing, sometimes murky, technology waters. I don’t have to do this alone. I can’t do it alone. I am not going to get anywhere by staying in Leslie’s world. It really is a great place, but there is a bigger world out there with some super smart people. Those people can help me, so I suppose I better get up and go to them.

#FindYourEverest

The way to Everest in not a Yellow Brick Road.”  –Jon Krakauer

I am a list maker. I make lists before I go on vacation. My vacation lists have lists – what to pack, what souvenirs to purchase, what to see, what I can leave behind if there’s not room in my suitcase, and foods I have to try. There is even a list of emergency plans for just-in-case.  I make lists for what needs to be done at work. I secretly like to make lists for other people. I do that when I think they aren’t organized enough. My Bucket List even has lists.  I love my Bucket List (all three pages of it). A lot of careful planning has gone into the contents of my list. Not because I am trying to check things off so I can die. I just want to make sure I experience all that life has to offer. There is a natural curiosity inside of me. I want to see everything, go everywhere, and know everything. Some of the items are easier than others. Singing karaoke in front of a crowd isn’t too terribly difficult, but it’s on my list. It’s there because singing in public is not really who I am, so it’s a stretch for me to get up and sing. Plus, I can’t sing. I am tone-deaf. Of course, I don’t care that I can’t sing. I just want to do it.

Other things on my list include travel and lots of it. I want to see the world. I want to step foot on EVERY single continent. I want to see historical sites, try new foods, observe the locals in their home. I want to pick up a few foreign phrases, barter at the market, picnic while watching the Northern Lights. Some items are harder and will take careful planning. Since I am a planner, that won’t be hard. One item that is on the list is the Appalachian Trail. At first, I just said I would be happy spending the night on the trail. I thought a lot about the Trail and what it means to so many. Now, I want to hike the entire trail from start to finish, Georgia to Maine. I have no idea how or when I will do it, but it will get done.  By far, that will be the hardest thing for me to complete. I don’t really care that it’s hard. I just want to do it. I need to accomplish something that to most seems impossible. Heck, it seems impossible to me, but I will do it. I need a challenge in my life.

Not long ago, I read a book, No Summit Out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits. Jordan Romero is the youngest person to summit the highest mountain on each continent. My goals are not that lofty. I’m happy with the AT. I did feel inspired in his book when he said that people need to find their Everest. Find what challenges you and go for it. Because I am fond of hashtags, I am adopting #FindYourEverest as one of mine. I want to be challenged. I don’t want to take the easy way (not all the time); I want to have meaning in my life.

Hiking the Appalachian Trail will not be the only #FindYourEverest challenge for me. There will be others.  Still pondering…

Whatever the new challenges are, rest assured I won’t quit. Quitting means no more list making. Half the fun of doing something is making the corresponding list. Cue “Gonna Fly Now“…

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That’s the Philadelphia Museum of Art behind me!

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The City of Brotherly Love in the background.

The view from the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Yes, I made it to the top of the “Rocky” steps. Not an easy task, but I completed it.