Seeking Independence

June 18, 2024 – A Week in Montréal Conferencing

Nothing beats starting the day with an Illy cappuccino… to be complemented with a hotel breakfast (one of my favourite things to do). It’s so interesting when I thought that coming to this conference would be a hurdle, when really it served to fill my cup, validate my work, and exercise many opportunities to be independent. The more that I am learning more about myself and what I am able to do, I reflect on these moments feeling satisfied, secure, and surprised. I say “surprised” because I spent a good part of my life being number 3, the wife, or the dependent. Admittedly, I did not do this trip 100% on my own. I continue to need some scaffolding (i.e. my brother helping me out with the hotel and how to take the 747 bus at YUL) but I feel really confident and grateful for the many opportunities to try, explore, and wonder.

I managed to get to Montréal from Prince George, get to my hotel, and navigate the Metro to get to the various places of which my conference was held. To navigate the Metro was an accomplishment. I know that the folks who designed the underground transportation made it for people like me, but I was able to figure it out, use is almost everyday I was in Montréal, and reach destinations that were not just the conference venues but to other destinations to meet with friends or see the sites. It was very serendipitous to change my hotel (due to the labour dispute at the university) to be at a hotel that had big rooms, excellent service, and located close to the Metro downtown. I could not have planned it any better… but really, I had luck on my side. Furthermore, the 5 sessions I presented in went well. Loved connecting with others.

As I am moving towards writing an ethics application to pursue an autoethnography, I am more cognizant that I am on my pedagogical journey… still. It’s just a new chapter. My pedagogical journey, of which I wrote about at some length after I left teaching in K-12 schools, is something that I am continuing to do and part of this journey is learning more about who I am a a person and practitioner. I have also learned (from this trip and beyond) that I make my path. That’s it. My journey is not dependent on others. I am the maker of my success, failures, and set backs. This is not to say that there are no barriers, but it’s my job to find ways to get around or overcome them. My job aso includes doing what makes me happy. As my friend had said to me on this trip, “It doesn’t matter to me.. you have to do what what’s best for you… it’s your life.”

Yes, it is. And I am figuring out what makes me happy. I love that #oneword2024. What makes me happy? I love conferencing. I love connecting with folks. I love a hotel breakfast. I am also loving my independence and willingness to navigate this world without fear and with the help of others. Lots of unlearning and relearning has engulfed the last year and a half, but I have never been happier. My freedom and independence has been something that I have been craving all of my life, but never felt that I deserved or was worthy of this way of being. Now, I understand that I do not have to live my life to please others, to achieve other people’s approval, or to do things that don’t align to my values or beliefs. I can do what best for me. This learning is big for me (which may be obvious to others). Right now, it’s liberating. Feels great!!