Understanding Place

Week 71 – Monday, July 19, 2021 – Saskatoon Berries

I’ve been contemplating the daily blog, as I have attempted before, inspired by a couple of colleagues on Twitter who do this wholeheartedly, particularly during the school year. I need to commit to a daily practice of writing, even though this may not be the type of writing that I need to be doing. I think it’s about practice and developing skills. It’s been a whirlwind to come to a place in midlife to realize that I am starting all over again. I am at the beginning and this is a scary place. You spend most of your life building an expertise and thinking that you have something to profess, when really you take your first step in that direction to realize that you are a novice or beginner at best. This is humbling, but also refreshing. I can start again.

I can rediscover what’s important to me and why. I’ve been grappling with my values and what’s important to me for the last 18-months in my pandemic reflections and I am wondering if anything has changed. My kid is my first priority. Student learning and their experiences are very important to me. Professional learning is central to my being as a learner and practitioner. I think that is my top 3 of “what’s important to me.” I start thinking about myself and my needs. What about me? I’ve been wrestling with my next steps and wonder about research and it’s importance to me. Research is a new landscape to me. The rules are different, but familiar. My role, how I see myself, and how I show up would be different. A person, colleague, and mentor said to me that research is not work, but something for myself. What I am researching is something I am passionate about, it’s important to me, and it’s driven by my why.

According to Simon Sinek, your why does not change. The how and the what might change, but never the why. Wow. I love the writing process. Another friend and colleague shared with me that “writing is thinking.” That could not be more true. I’m experiencing that right now. Although the landscape has changed, I have prior knowledge and experiences that can help me to adapt, learn, and adjust. My friend took me out to walk around their neigbourhood so that I could find new happy places to be in my new community. I’ve been a coastal girl my whole life and now I live in the central interior where there are 4 clear seasons, more snow and mosquitos I can handle, and the land is surrounded by rivers, not the ocean. Yet, we picked Saskatoon berries (not salmon berries, like we do on the coast), we walked along the river (which had beach sand to my surprise), and we had coffee and something yummy to eat at the local campsite (because nothing beats a double espresso). To my delight along the walk, my friend mentioned that the local hall used to be a curling rink. DAMN.

Here we go… CONNECTION. I was so excited to learn about this local two-sheet rink. What I am learning is, even though I am living in a different place, there are many things that are familiar to me, but also new to me. I can find things that are close to my heart that resonates with me deeply. I feel the same about research. The last few years has been a treacherous journey to move from practitioner to researcher. I am a novice and I can see what I need to do now. I am at the beginning. That said, I am reassured that pursuing a life of research is for me. It’s not selfish, but more about an opportunity to realize my vocation, my why, and my passion in education. Research aligns to my why and it’s ok to be engaged in healthy striving. This is the work. As I make decisions that are more attuned to who I am and what I want to do, the more I am beginning to understand my place. I am excited to see what happens next.