Tag Archives: Change

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

This is our last week of school and it’s hard. Saying goodbye is difficult and it’s not something I’m good at. I hold on for too long. I reach out for too long. I grow nostalgic before it’s even time to say goodbye and I let myself feel all the things I’ll miss before it’s time to miss them.

I’ve said goodbye enough times to know which stories will stick, which memories will make me smile and which will strike a chord that hurts a little bit. I’m lucky to have taught students who ask real questions, seek out real answers, and report back what they’ve learned. I’m lucky to have worked with truly good people who welcomed me with open arms and saved me from my darkest thoughts. I will miss them all.

This year was my sixth year in the classroom and the first year I considered seeking out avenues outside the classroom to satisfy my need to make an impact on the world. I’ve got a few more things I want to do in the classroom and we’ll see after that.

This is also the first year I let myself entertain the possibility of all kinds of change because this is year that nothing went as planned.

So I’m saying goodbye to good people, a good place, and the path I was following when I co-signed a lease for a New York City apartment a year ago. I’m thinking about the life I want to live going forward so that I can be satisfied when I look back in 100 years or so. What will I have done? What will I be proud of? What will I wish I’d known?

As my therapist says, “What does your 95-year-old self say to your current self?”

I needed this year because I needed time alone to think, to take a step back, and to make the decisions that make the most sense to me rather than the decisions that I thought others wanted me to make. I needed this year to prove to myself that I am capable of making those decisions and don’t need to rely on the opinions of others. Being happy is okay. Making changes to be happy is also okay. Putting oneself first is okay, too.

My 95-year-old self wants to look around and know that she’s touched lives in positive ways. She wants to see family and friends who are global citizens, who believe in the possibility of improvement for all, who work to help those around them realize a better, more peaceful, sustainable world. She wants to have taught students who are good people, who help others, and who harness their interests and skills to have a positive, meaningful, lasting impact on the world around them. She wants the people around her to know that they are loved, supported, and affirmed as members of a community. She wants nature alive and well, ecosystems thriving. My 95-year-old self wants clean air and clean energy; she wants peace, prosperity, and good health for all.

So what does this mean for me as I am now?

It means that I will continue to learn, read, write, and communicate my aspirations and ideas. It means that I will continue to educate because I believe that the next generation of leaders needs more than they are getting in schools today and I want to give that to them. It means that I am looking to surround myself with people who believe that we can build a world that is better, more peaceful, and environmentally sustainable as compared with today’s world. I want to be around people who push me to ask questions, find answers, and be the best person that I can be.

Change does not happen overnight and it does not happen without allies. Change requires teams with a shared vision and I want to be part of a team making a real impact. That’s what I’m working towards.

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?” –Hamilton

I hope to live my story and I hope to find people who want to live it with me. If that’s you, post a comment below or send me a message through the contact page. I can’t wait to meet you.

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One by One

This has been a week of a lot of change. Change is always hard, whether it goes as planned or not. This has been a week of new situations, new decisions, and new choices. None of this is easy. New things are rarely easy.

But things get better.

I’m beginning to like New York, which has surprised me. I didn’t know if I would. New York might be big, loud, and fast, but it also has a lot of beauty to offer. I wasn’t expecting that. For example:

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Cathedral of Saint John the Divine

The unexpected has been a welcome distraction. So has this cat, who I met when helping a friend move into her new apartment:

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Moments of laughter have been a relief.

As hard as I’m trying to put one foot in front of the other, I have fallen more than once. It’s times like this that leave me overwhelmed with gratitude for friends all over the world. This week has reminded me that it’s okay to hurt, cry, and feel. It’s okay to be afraid and to reach out to those who love me.

I am not in this alone. This I know.

There have been moments that have taken my breath away in both positive and negative ways. Here was a good moment and I wasn’t the only one taking pictures:

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View of the Chrysler Building from 15th Street

Change is a process. It’s about taking life one step at a time and one day at a time. It’s about balancing each task as it arises so as not to be overwhelmed by the big picture.

This journey is not about looking backwards. It’s about acknowledging the past for what it is and moving forwards to be better each day. It’s about learning from the past and growing better for the future. I have a lot of figuring out to do, which is scary. I’m grateful to those who have promised to hold my hand along the way.

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Inspirational signs line 110th Street on the Upper West Side

I’m telling myself that it’s okay to move slowly in the fastest place I’ve ever been. It’s okay to be uncertain. Today was one day and tomorrow will be another. Days will pass. Change will get easier.

This I know.