Well, I surely was hoping to be more punctual with my blog posts, but this year has taken off with significant speed and not as much direction as I had hoped for. Let me say, before moving forward, that my political and social rants are much easier for me to collect my thoughts and write about the world as I see it; however, when I take a more personal route, things can get a little unorganized. I apologize in advance. Anyhow, I feel I have been in a rut for the past couple of years. Much of what was happening was not by design or hinged on purpose. I found myself reacting to circumstance instead of truly acting out through intention. So, in October of 2010 I made a decision and subsequent commitment to get out of my comfort zone and begin drafting a life with a little less dormancy and a little more exploit. My drive was to begin living like I was dreaming and start making my wishes come true. Yes, this sounds clichéd and unoriginal I know, but nonetheless, there is truth in familiar places. The last couple of months in 2010 were rough and boiled over with a lot of candid self discovery which led me to begin taking small steps, no matter how uncomfortable these steps forward may make me feel. For those of you that know me my natural disposition is that of a shy thinker who enjoys watching events unfold and adores a bloviated critique from the safety zone of my couch. This is nothing more than a slow and pathetic way to live and the void has climaxed allowing me to find the courage to take the first couple of steps. Instead of another predictable list of "things to do" or dusty resolutions, I have simply dedicated three or more days a week where l impose a healthy dose of feeling uncomfortable. Yes, for me it is that simple. If it feels uncomfortable and causes a little suffering and sacrifice it is not only overdue but much needed. I did not make a plan, carve a path, but rather let that path evolve naturally based upon my natural strengths and inclinations. I have found that I have already begun making subtle yet healthy changes which I believe will last a lifetime.
The initial step forward was with my diet. I'm not going to lie, I love food of all flavors and it clearly was beginning to show. So, for the first 21 days of the year, I gave up all meat and dairy and existed on a completely plant based diet. This was clearly an uncomfortable foot forward especially seeing I was still cooking meat based meals for the rest of the family. Nonetheless, it allowed me to eat with more purpose and pay closer attention to the foods I was choosing. I also found some incredible dishes I would never have tried if I had not left my comfort zone. Now, to be fair, many years ago I was a vegetarian so I always felt consuming less meat was a moral issue not only for human health but for our environmental health. So, this may have been easier for me then say someone who loathes vegetables and culinary exploration. Keep in mind, I don't and didn't intend to transition full time to a vegan diet, but I do limit my meat/dairy intake to only a couple of times a week.
The next step was to try and become more social (Facebook does not count!). I have very strong political ideas and am a pretty outspoken Atheist, which puts me at odds with about 90% of our population especially when my two favorite discussion topics are religion and politics. I hate small talk. So, I did what every Atheist would do, I started an Atheist book club, Denton County Secular Society, and to my surprise, the group is growing fast. I have always felt a drive to be involved in my community and/or help organizations that aim to make positive change in this world. I did not want to simply write a check to a charity, but rather strive to be part of something so I volunteered to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by participating in their Team In Training Program. What would make me more uncomfortable then soliciting money from strangers and training to hike 16 miles with some of the greatest people I have yet to meet. So far this has been an extremely humbling and great step forward. I can't pretend to understand what it is like for people battling cancer, but if I can make a positive impact by hiking 16 miles and raising money to fund blood cancer research then that is what I will do. So, if you would like to help me out in this cause, please visit my fundraising page at:
Lastly, I have the best job in the world and feel like I'm part of the lucky few who love what they do for a career. I cannot imagine going to work anywhere else but in the classroom. Education is a passion of mine and I believe every child deserves to evolve their own passion for learning, after all this is an innate human characteristic. The classroom has not always been a comfortable place. I have had to learn to speak in ways foreign to me and have had to gain the confidence to lead a classroom, which is surprisingly harder then it appears. But getting comfortable is what I fear so I have begun to commit to spending some of my time both delving into education research on a weekly basis as well as spending more time mentoring individual children. It is sometimes hard to navigate outside your comfort zone when you feel so comfortable doing what you do, and it appears to be working, but I'm still working on my personal growth in this area. I am, however, excited about the possibilities.
I understand this blog post takes odd form from most of my other writing, but I wanted the opportunity to put on paper what I intend to do this year and how I intend to make the world better for it, even if only in very small ways. I can't wait to see what this year will bring!