Boxing Day Blog 2022

December 26, 2022 – A Year in Review… Maybe?

Well… life is always filled with “firsts.” That’s what learning is all about. This was my first Christmas without family. My kid was out of town (and returning tonight) and I opted not to travel to Vancouver to visit my brother, sister, and dad. I’m glad that I didn’t travel. The weather has been crazy in the Lower Mainland and travel remains in the news. That kind of stress and mayhem were not in my winter holiday plans.

I stayed in my apartment. The first week of December, I was sick and spent a couple of weeks coping, travelling, and recovering. That was not fun. The third week I was alone and Prince George was experiencing a cold spell. -30 degrees Celsius weather was relentless. All that I wanted to do was stay inside and do nothing. And guess what I did? Not much. And if I had to do something, I did reluctantly, then did nothing.

What was amazing the winter holiday that I’ve learned is, nothing blows up. It’s true. For some reason I thought that I had to work and work to prove myself to others and validate my sense of worth. Nope. Not this year. I took it slow and tried not to work. I took a handful of few days not working and it’s been wonderful. I can take a vacation from work and approach my work in ways that work best for me. It’s been amazing.

I feel rested. I feel grounded. I feel connected (to self). What a wonderful gift. I never felt lonely this winter break and I could really take the time to listen to myself. I’ll admit, I am probably going to the drop in clinic tomorrow to check in for my health. That said, I am willing. In past, I might not have been. Denial seemed easier. That did not pay off a few years ago. Now, I can be honest with myself because I’m important.

The past year has been one of change and transformation. I had to step away from some things so that I can pursue other things. I can’t have everything. What I am realizing is, I am not suppose to want everything. What I am suppose to be doing is figuring out what I really want for me. I want to be healthy. I want to be learning. And, I want to continue pursuing things that I love (without any outside pressure).

A friend of mine the other day said that I am someone who is carving out my own path forward. An interesting example because I’m just learning how to. With each lesson, I am learning that nothing “blows up” when I am being true to myself and my needs and wants. It’s been an interesting winter break. I am focused on me. That’s it. How refreshing and unusual. I’ve been too busy serving and impressing others.

UGH. It’s taken this much time to arrive in this place today to realize that the only person I need to be serving and impressing is myself. I don’t mean this in a ego-driven way but in a way that is “selfish” and “self-serving.” Again, that sounds awful, but I don’t mean it in a way that is harmful or hurtful to others, but it’s about prioritizing myself. It reminds me of flying and putting on your air mask first.

You can’t help others if you are not taking care of yourself. I have my inquiry question for 2023 and my #OneWord2023. These are two tasks I’m going to be asking my EDUC 391, EDUC 421, and EDUC 405 students to do. (PS. It’s the same cohort). I guess this is not a year in review. Lots has happened. Some good. Some bad. In the end, I believe everything was meant to happen to get where I am today. I’m good.

No regrets. Lots of learning and I will continue to learn. What I think I am committed to for 2023 is to set lofty goals and know that it will take lots of little steps to get to those big goals. I can do this. I’m doing this for me. I am modelling for my kid (and she models right back to me). I have spent 2022 redefining myself and I am ready for the new year. Let’s see how the doctor’s appointment goes, but right now, it’s good.

I’m wishing everyone the happiest new year. You deserve it. Many people are struggling and we have to do what’s best for ourselves as self-care. The New Year will be my next blog post for Week 146. Yes, we are still in the pandemic. That has not ended but I wanted to take a moment to reflect and think about 2022 and express my gratitude for my family, my kid, and my friends. I am feeling lucky. Thank you!!

One Step at a Time

Week 145 – December 23, 2023 – Honour the Process

Ahhh… it’s almost Christmas and my week alone is almost over. I have no regrets and I enjoyed my time. I’ve been catching up with work and had to take the time to get better from the cold I was suffering from for a couple of weeks. I feel 100% and I’ve enjoyed my time cooking a turkey dinner for myself but also enjoying the little things like curling with my team, getting Chinese food, and cleaning up my kid’s room.

OK. I lied. Cleaning up my kid’s room is not a little thing. I’m mid-process right now and I’m a little overwhelmed. She’s got a lot of stuff and she was focused on her schooling. Cleaning up her room in the last month must have been a low priority. I thought I would be nice and offered to clean her room while she’s out of town. Admittedly, I do have some regret. Cleaning her room is bigger than anticipated.

That said, I am learning something. Cleaning my kid’s room is a metaphor for writing manuscripts, making proposals, and marking papers. It’s not an all-nighter event. I keep believing that I can complete a HUGE tasks as an all-nighter. If I look back, I believed this when I was in high school, when I was in university, and when I was teaching in K-12 schools. Truthfully, my thinking has not changed over time. Huh.

What I am learning is, it’s ok to work on something in small doses without losing your mind (or sleep). I am learning how to be kind to myself and to show myself the patience and compassion I deserve. I have nothing to prove. Now saying that… was I trying to impress someone else? I was trying to prove or earn my worth? Possibly. What I am practicing now is how to get the HUGE job done “one step at a time.”

There is NO WAY that I am going to finish cleaning her room in one day. This task will take me a minimum of a few days and additional furniture to store all of her stuff. I will also have to wait for my kid to get home to help to lift the new piece of furniture. I can’t do it by myself. It’s too heavy. UGH. And, I need time and sleep to strategize next steps on how to approach her room. What I am learning is, just take the time.

Honestly, I need to make the time… just like I have to rest. I love that. Deliberate rest. I needed to take the time to rest (and sleep). What I realizing now is, I need to make time to write (or do any HUGE task that needs completion) and not feel bad about taking the time. I think what is resonating with me now is the idea of ME TIME. A colleague of mine said to me awhile ago that research and writing is “me time.”

I am beginning to understand this idea of “me time” that extends beyond self-care. When one spends time on self-care, one is prioritizing self. To prioritize self, you have to understand your value and worth. Hmm… I’m understanding this. It’s taking me time and I spent much of my #pandemicreflections trying to figure this out… or at least what is important to me. The question should really be, why am I important?

What I love about blogging is, I can never anticipate how it will turn out and what I will learn from writing. It’s always a surprise. This blog post is an excellent example. I did not anticipate how this would end. What I was focused on was the HUGE task of cleaning my kid’s room. Oy. It’s a HUGE task. Always stay attuned to what you can learn from anything. Learning is happening everywhere. You just have to notice.

Deliberate Rest

Week 144 – December 19, 2022 – Feeling Better

First of all… I’m late on my weekly blog (and I’m ok with that). I’ve been sick for a couple weeks and it’s the end of term. I had a conference to present at and meetings to attend. I hate that feeling of “shoulding” myself and dragging myself to do things. It’s not a good feeling yet I had thought for years that I was doing a good thing. I was honestly killing myself and going around the clock was not healthy or helpful.

Second, I’ve been somewhat bewildered by Twitch’s suicide and how it is consuming social media. It reminds me of how I felt when Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade died. I wonder about how horrible they all must have felt inside to end their life. They must have been hurting. Mental health and wellbeing are so fragile. With the economy, pandemic, and leading life to it’s fullest, happiness hangs on a thread.

Third, I am learning about what makes me happy and feeling like I have the agency to do what I think is right for me without jeopardizing the system, deadlines, or other people’s lives in a negative way. It’s been a blissful feeling this holiday season to think that the only person I’m taking care of is me. It’s kind of refreshing and liberating. I have nothing to prove to anyone and I’m not concerned about what people think.

Finally, I am focusing on me and my wellness. I am feeling joyful and content. I am doing what makes me happy. I am so grateful to be living with my kid, but I am also happy about her independence. I love working with my students and I am learning more about learning (and research). I’m following the mantra of “one step at a time.” What’s wonderful about this is, no shaming… no guilt. I am doing the best I can.

We are a handful of days away from Christmas and I’m going to enjoy my first winter break spending the time with myself. This time of not running around and enjoying my space and place is cup filling. I am enough and I truly feel that way. It’s been a journey so far to get where I am today but I have no regrets. I have never felt better and I feel like my best years are just ahead of me. Goodbye 2022 and Hello 2023.

The System is Complex

Week 143 – December 11, 2022 – Conflicted Feelings

This is a blog redo. I wrote a blog this week that focused on my Hopes and Dreams for Public Education. It was a self-imposed homework assignment for the work I am doing with the Institute for Public Education (IPE). I opted to write it via blog versus a Word doc to share with my working group. I felt like I had nothing to hide. Well, I’m hiding. I just received feedback on my blog post, which I appreciated, but what I wrote was not interpreted in the same way as I intended. The system is complex.

I’m not really hiding, but I did un-publish the blog post to do another one instead… and here it is. A replacement post. I am faced with conflicted feelings as I reflect on the system and what we hope and dream for. Even with my sub-committee, we each wrote very different pieces. We had question prompts and we were the test pilot. We wondered how contributions would manifest given these prompts. Much depended on our vantage point. One wrote about memories of specific teachers, one wrote about different agencies, and I wrote about feelings and how we treat each other.

Anyway, I thought about writing about my experience at FNESC. I just co-presented with a friend and colleague of mine at the conference this weekend and we talked about decolonizing practices and assessment. It was a need identified when we were working on other FNESC resources. Assessment was an area identified that needed some attention. Assessment is very important to me, but also know that it’s an area that is highly contentious because assessment practices also reflect one’s values. When you start questioning assessment, you are questioning people’s values.

I enjoyed co-constructing the presentation with my friend and landing in a place where formative assessment and the 4R’s are interrelated. I was so inspired by my experience in the Stellat’en Salmon Festival and the lessons I learned there about teaching and learning in community. It is incredibly powerful and this experience provided the inspiration for this presentation at FNESC. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive to share this information. My friend and I went over the presentation a few times just to be sure…. of flow, content, and sense-make ability. Anyway, my friend was very confident of the presentation, audience, and appropriateness.

As you can read, I was not as confident. We co-presented as planned. Twice. And ironically, we concluded the assessment session with a feedback form. FNESC asks for feedback after each session, which makes sense. But when I had second thoughts, I was not as open to immediate feedback. I was worried about pushback. Of two groups at about 80 people per session, we only had up to two handfuls of “satisfactory” and the rest were “excellent” and wanting more time to discuss. Wow. That exceeded my expectations. We questioned the system and proposed how assessment could be to influence pedagogies and ways of being. It was accepted.

My reflection of that learning, which I am still digesting is, the system is complex. My thoughts are something that cannot be generalized and each of us have had different experiences in the system. I don’t want to deny the good moments. There were many. But I also don’t want to overlook those moments or opportunities that could be better. Just because no one is saying anything does not mean it’s working. But also, by saying something may lead to misinterpretation, pushback, or controversy. Am I prepared for that? A part of me has to be because of the work I am doing. My job is to question. Which brings me back to my original post of feeling marginalized and oppressed.

We are each finding our ways through this education to make a difference and impact student learning in positive ways. I have very good memories of my teaching practice but I also have not so positive ones. When I think about making change, how can we bring attention to the not so positive experiences and look at possible solutions. I do believe that people are doing the best that they can but I also believe that they system can be better and its in those places where I am looking to improve.

Finding Myself

Week 142 – December 3, 2022 – The Group of Seven

There are no words to describe my gratitude for this group of 7 and for all those who have helped me along the way to arrive into this new chapter of my life. It’s hard to describe but change can be turbulent, uncertain, and scary. Admittedly, for me, it’s been all three but I feel at peace now and content with who I am and where I am. I am filled with gratitude and humbled for those who held space for me. Thank you.

Life is short and what I am learning is, tomorrow never comes. Time is flying by and when I put myself aside, when I put ideas aside, or when I keep my voice silent… I am lost and I am not putting my self-worth in a place where I or others can value. I can still be in the service of others while I lifting others to be the best person they can be. It’s so easy to make assumptions or talk yourself into or out of things. Not any more.

This crew has helped me in many ways that are too difficult to describe or disclose. What I well say is, they taught me how to be human, to b patient, and to be kind. Their diversity, wholeheartedness, and professionalism reminded me of what is possible and I may not please everybody and not everybody will be successful. What is important is to live up to my why and trust that my intentions are understood.

I feel that I am a different person with this crew and what we had accomplished together is amazing. They gave me permission to be me, to be authentic to self. They were honest and vulnerable in ways that helped me, but I also hope helped them too. Our relationship was built on reciprocity, respect, and relevance. I am brought to the 4R’s and the strength and love we co-created together nourished our teacher efficacy.

I am grateful, humbled, and enamoured by this crew and I wish them all the best on their future endeavours. If anything, I am brought to hope and joy. Isn’t this the ultimate goal of education? I can see the impact on this work together on my other work with incoming cohorts, my research, and my work with different committees, service work, and organizations. My purpose is clear. I would not it any other way.

Feeling Like Home

Week 141 – November 26, 2022 – The Mild Weather

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost December in the Central Interior and it’s raining. I’m not complaining. The wind, rain, and clouds remind me of a west coast winter. No worries though, it will be in the -20’s next week, but I will indulge for a moment while this mild weather persists for a few more days. This weather keeps me in my Crocs.

I’ve been having quite a week, but every week seems to be quite a week. This school year is has been about doing things for myself, understanding my joy, and being authentic to who I am as a person and practitioner. It’s not like I was “not like myself” but I have done lots of things in my life to impress or please others. Not this year.

I’m not angry or vengeful, but I am more like content and joyful. This is the first time in a long time when I have felt like I am doing things for me, but not in a “selfish” way. It’s more like, I’m listening to my heart and feeling somewhat indulgent to do something for me because I deserve to live my best life and enjoy my time here.

There was a recent current event this week that happened in my hometown of Prince Rupert. My childhood friend, Patty Forman, was killed by her ex-fiancé at her workplace. I am just horrified and saddened. I remember going to her house as a child and I have class photos with her and she came over to my 5th birthday party.

When I saw my social media feed “blow up,” I wondered if the person who was shot was someone that I knew. It was so weird to hear the news from someone on FB Messenger who reached out to me to let me know. UGH. There are no words. People from my grad class gathered online to mourn and remember Patty in a good way.

I was brought to my knees asking myself what life was all about. I’m so spooked because I remember her Facebook profile pic just being updated the night before. She did not know. It just happened and I just heard from my friend that her death was not instant, but people tried to save her life for about 30-minutes before she passed away.

This event sickens me. The killer shot himself but was not declared dead until he was at hospital when he was not able to survive his injuries. I don’t know. Watching the news is painful and almost unbelievable on a daily basis and this is not mentioning the war or extraordinary climate change disasters. People are hurting out there.

I totally get it. Pain is so difficult. I’ve been there. Sometimes you live most of your life such that you’re completely numb to life. Who wants to feel? And when you do, who wants to hurt. But what I’ve learned during my #pandemicreflections and major life events over the last few years is, you only have control over you and your feelings.

I am extremely saddened by the horror of what Patty had to experience on the last few moments of her life. I am reminded that I was taking life for granted and I put myself aside, like I was not important or worthy. I put everyone else first and never stood up to what is true. A teacher candidate taught me that this week as well.

Live your best life. Be good to yourself. Hold people close to you. In the same breath, get rid of anything that is toxic or does not serve you in a good way. Patty was such a good person. People who knew her (based on the various Facebook posts), loved her. Rest In Peace, Patty. You will be greatly missed and I will always remember you.

Understanding My Why

Week 140 – November 19, 2022 – Feeling much gratitude

Wow. 140 weeks. I cannot believe it. The pandemic persists and respiratory illness is on the rise during the winter season. I have (knock on wood) been able to avoid this nasty virus and another other cold or flu bug that may be going around. Let’s hope that my new way of being (somewhat introverted and self-isolating) will work in my favour. I am also figuring out to balance work, life, and rest… while being discerning with what brings me joy (or not). I am also aware of the ebb and tide of life. This may include people, work, and way of being. People come and go. Work persists but always changing. And, walking forward through life to figure what’s up or down.

I have to say that I don’t know why I often avoid what works for me. For example, I started this blog entry yesterday, but here I am on a Saturday night (or late afternoon) to write my blog entry with a clear mind and open heart. Honestly, this is the right time. Accept. Allow. Why do I resist things like this? Seems odd. I guess it’s a form of surrendering. For most of my life I’ve spent it doing things that. Do things that people said I should not do or could not do. I almost consider it a challenge, but ironically I end up doing that I don’t want to do to prove someone wrong or to please them. How miserable this that existence? It is. And, it’s awful when you lose yourself doing it.

My life turned around in many ways in the last 5-years. I completed my doctorate (finally), my mom passed away, I moved to a new town, my marriage ended, and I was trying to impress people by being someone I never was. How can I sell myself and my strengths when I’m not even doing anything for myself. It was not a way to live, but I also think that everything that has happened was to get me where I am. What I understand now is, I can do what I love. I can be authentic and who I am. I can care and love my students in ways such that all I want is their success. It’s not about me, but it’s all about people I serve and support. I am now living MY WHY.

What an incredible feeling. I don’t have to announce anything or seek approval from others to validate my actions. I just have to be true to myself and what I experience and witness will provide the feedback I need to know if I’m on the right track or not. I have to say, the last year and a 16-months has been the most transformative. I drove away from my life of 25-years and moved (back) into my apartment with my kid. I love being and living with my kid and together we have been creating a new life. She’s now in nursing school and I’m a full-time Assistant Professor (80/20 teaching and service). We share a car and I am starting life all over again. I am not sad.

The people who are currently playing a big role in my pedagogical journey are my students. They have been amazing and I am so humbled and grateful that each of them are walking beside me on this journey. I could not ask for anything more. At times I don’t believe it. As a result, I question myself and my work. That self-doubt only lasts for a few seconds now, but I am so grateful for my students (and former ones) who have helped me to be the person I am today. They have been amazing. I do seek help from friends and those who informally mentor, but the students have been most affirming. The conversations we’ve had and how classes go… are awesome.

I’ve had an amazing week and every moment of joy had something to do with my kid, my students, or doing things that I love. What can I say? I love connection, community, and collaboration. These 3 C’s are at the core of who I am and ultimately frames my research program. I spent a VERY LONG TIME figuring out what’s really important to me, especially over the last 140 weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think I get it and there is nothing I want more than to do things I love. It’s taking some practice to listen to myself and to follow my intuition, but I will get better at this over time. I’m brought back to my dissertation and DELIBERATE PRACTICE. I can do this.

Thank you students, critical friends, and my family for being there for me. I learn so much from each of you and I feel like I am the person I was always meant to be.

Living with Gratitude

Week 139 – November 12, 2022 – Sustainability & Grit

Oh my. Thank goodness for a long weekend. I needed a break. For the last two nights, I took liberty and indulged in a full-night’s sleep (and napped periodically during the day in my LazyBoy chair under my electric blanket). I really appreciate rest and enjoy “being a person.” I think I’m caught up on food shopping. My apartment is clean (except my kid’s bedroom… that’s her responsibility). And, I have recycled, dishes are being washed, and I’m cooking at home (as often as I can). I even woke this morning and opted to get back on the WW train, not for weight loss, but for health reasons.

I am brought back to my academic coaching over the summer and I am reminded of the ongoing theme of SUSTAINABILITY. What is sustainable? What are my goals? What am I willing and wanting to do? The other thing I am reminded of is doing less service work as I need to focus on my research work (even though I don’t get paid for that) and my teaching (which is extraordinary to maintain 5 courses in one term). No one blinks but it is something that I have to do (and want to do) to move forward in this industry of higher education, academia, and research. I need to make the time.

What I am realizing is, I can’t be tired or feel like I’m in crisis such that I’m only reacting. To be present, I need to feel rested and I need to be healthy. I will admit, I have never felt better emotionally and spiritually, but I really noticed during my curling game last night that I was on top of my game. I was not going to let the opponent’s grief or havoc affect how I was feeling and the quality of my play. They were not the most positive at moments during the game and I had to be clear about my boundaries, internally and externally. Thank goodness for rules in the game.

I was also brought into reflection during the game thinking to myself that I’ve been here before. The feelings were familiar. The difference was I would pause, support my team, and play my best (as I was ignoring the opponent, while being pleasant). I was not going to let them play into my sense of self efficacy and my performance. It was clear that I have to bring that mindset and way of being into my work and relationships. It’s ok for me to feel confident, be firm, and set clear boundaries. I don’t have to justify my actions, as long as I am playing within the rules of the game.

Gosh, I am so grateful for CURLING. I’ve learned so much about life and leadership from curling, and I appreciate that I continue to learn from the game. Even though it was only a game last night, it was a discrete life lesson of what’s possible and what I am able to do. I am strong and I can stand up for myself. I can live with my integrity without having to question or self-doubt myself (as long as I willing accept full responsibility of the consequences and treat people with respect and compassion). I don’t have to compromise for the soul purpose of connection. I’m better than that.

I reached my max on Thursday, then attended a university sports fundraising event that night to the keynote speaker, Kaleb Dahlgren, best selling author and survivor of the Humboldt Broncos. His story was compelling and what I had learned from his story was, you are in control of how you respond and react to situations. It’s about perspective and your mindset. “Enjoy the Grind.” I had the opportunity to speak with Kaleb informally after his keynote and I asked him how he knew he was healed. He said, he has no more triggers. I get that. True freedom… and living with gratitude.

Christine Day 2022

Week 138 – November 5, 2022 – An Unexpected Surprise

Yes. This group photo captured on Twitter taken for this blog post. I had no idea this was happening. It caught my by surprise. It’s November 2nd. Not only was it exactly one month after my birthday, so I guess the official end of my birthday month, this was also a day where my class decided to dress up like me. WHY? Lol. What would inspire this? And if you notice, I’m not dressed like me. Unbelievable. I had my course on Halloween with these folks and the class theme for dressing up was GNOMES.

One of the students made me a matching hat for my UNBC sweatshirt of that day and it was super fun that this group is so playful to dress up and collaboratively make a theme. I was also impressed by how this group was so respectful of those who do not dress up for Halloween. It was very inclusive and I hope no one felt out of place. If anyone felt out of place, it would have been me. Halloween is not my favourite days of the year and this crew made it very inclusive and a matter of fact. It was good.

Members of the Education Club also prepped to have a bake sale soon after my class, so many of the students from both cohorts baked the night before to sell bake goods at the Agora foyer area. What a crew. Admittedly, it’s so nice to be back in person for classes. There is something about being in person to connect and create community. Anyway, the reason why I was dressed in Halloween pyjamas was because I had originally planned to wear it for Halloween and on Nov. 1, it was pyjama day for my other students in practicum at K-12 schools because it was the day after Halloween.

I was inspired by the students I spoke to on November 1st to have pyjama day. Why not? It was a last minute thought but it felt right. Every day up until November 2nd I would wear a UNBC sweatshirt, my Crocs, and tights as my “official school wear.” Anyway, I think my class caught onto this formula for fashion and opted to dress up as ME. What I noticed was them looking at me strangely, but also many of them wearing UNBC swag to class. It seemed unusual until they showed me their Crocs.

All I can say is… THANK YOU!!! I am humbled and it made my day. I did not know what do to with this flattering acknowledgement but it affirms to me MY WHY and that staying true to myself, my practice, and my students is the best thing to do. It’s now official everyone. November 2nd is CHRISTINE DAY. Celebrate the day as you feel fit but I am super happy and incredibly joyful. Thank you class. You are awesome!

Be Me

Week 137 – October 30, 2022 – Back to Weekly Blogs

It feels great to get back to the weekly blog. You have to spend the time to honour yourself. Dang. It was a super busy week and I am so grateful not to have to blog during the week. I appreciate taking the time to rest and reflect on the week. I’m back to a good place. I don’t know why I second guess myself, but suppose that this is the journey. If anyone is tracking my blogs, I keep flip flopping to find my perfect flow for writing (at least for blogging and reflecting). At first I started blogging to practice my writing and try out a new platform (that could be public, which it is). Then, I used it to discuss moments for reflection in my practice (and learned a thing or two about FIPPA and digital citizenship). My blog primarily focused on my pedagogical journey. I was in a state of transition when I started over 10 years ago. I found that my blog was a means to share but also to sense-make. I continue to do that with the hopes of other people who may read this blog can learn something or just feel inspired.

The blog evolved over time and I was very interested in Ian Landy and George Couros who committed to a daily blog. I’ve tried several times, but never succeeded. I think the only trait that I am doing with respect to the weekly blog is not editing so much. I am blogging right now through an app because I’ve locked myself out of my blog due to the two-step Authenticator. I changed my phone, did not save the settings (I did not know or realize) and lost the cryptic codes in a move. Gah. That was a whirlwind, but happy to continue blogging through the WordPress App and will continue to do so. The reason why I added security to my blog is because bots or hackers are trying to get into my WordPress account. I’m not sure why anyone would want to take control over my blog and website, but I continue to get notifications of failed log ins. It’s sad. But I am super glad because I can’t get in either. Let’s keep all of us locked out.

Over the last 10+ years, I quit my job teaching math in K-12, I became a school trustee, I completed my doctorate degree, my mom passed away, I got a new job, and I moved cities leaving my kid in the Lower Mainland with my husband at the time. I wanted to give higher education a shot and I remember feeling the constant uncertainty, judgement, and rejection. I was an interesting, disruptive, and very transitional time for me. Lots of things were happening around me and I was never sure what was happening, but wanted to do a good job. The transition was a handful. Over the last few years, COVID-19 was an opportunity to pick up my blog and commit to a weekly blog of pandemic reflections, hence it’s Week 137. I’ve been blogging weekly since the pandemic started and wow, I can’t believe it’s been 137 weeks. During this recent blogging journey, I was wrestling with what really important in my life. I feel so lucky to have the opportunity and luxury to reflect (and work) during the pandemic. I don’t even want to look back at those blogs. I’m a different person.

I am so grateful for the pandemic. I got to meet so many people online (via Zoom)… and I met a bunch of amazing people during the FA strike just before the pandemic. Online remote learning was not my favourite thing to do but it was certainly a test of determining what’s really important to me. And now, I’ve just realized… I am not a COVID-19 stat and my marriage ended during the pandemic. It actually ended before. Huh. That was a good realization. I was separated before the strike and before that school year started. If I was really honest, it ended a long time ago but it took a long time to find myself. The weekly pandemic reflections really helped me to decipher what’s really important. My kid is a highlight and my relationship with my mom was integral to who I am and who I want to be. I’ve struggled with my sense of self-worth and my abilities as an educator, parent/wife, and student. I completely moved away from my home of 25-years, my kid moved with me, and I’ve done a lot of work.

The weekly blog continues, much like the pandemic, but I am shifting my aha and I’m just going to be me. I had a weird occurrence that happened to me last week, but what it made me realize is this: (1) I’ve never been happier; (2) I love living with my kid; (3) I love my work; (4) my marriage was toxic; and, (5) I am good enough. The past year 15-months has been amazing and I understand what’s important to me. I have made excellent friends locally, maintained my very friends from the past, and making connections in my field but from other institutions and communities. I realize that some people will not like me or feel threatened by me (for whatever reason), but I also understand now that I can’t control others and I don’t have to be someone different so that I can belong or fit in. I’m not betraying myself anymore. As much as I love community, connection, and collaboration, I am not abandoning myself and be someone who I think people want me to be to be accepted. I can’t.

Just the other day, I told the skip of my curling team (during our game, of course) that I feel like a local. What a good feeling. I feel like I belong… to me… to this place. I say that, but I was also reminded by my good friend that let the work speak for itself. I am not one to brag or gloat. That’s not my way of being, but I am one to share, teach, and create. I’m going to stick to that formula and see where it takes me. What I do know is, by doing so, I am joyful, happy, and peaceful. I need that. I am that. Yay me. So what I am committed to for the upcoming weekly pandemic blogs is to focus on what I am grateful for, what makes me happy, and what brings me joy. I may have done that from time to time in the past, but what I am doing is staying consistent to how I am blogging. I blog based on how I feel. Right now, I feel great so why not?