Thursday, August 8, 2013

On Passion and Setting Your Life on Fire

Yesterday I returned from an incredibly inspiring three days at the Professional Learning Communities conference for educators. The final presentation I attended, after three days of discussion on collaboration and learning, ended with the presenter telling the audience, "There is no more essential work to be done in the United States right now than in reinvigorating K-12 education. I know this, because if there was, I would be doing that work." He spoke with a fervor and passion about his work as a middle school principal in such a way that left me thrilled for the possibilities brought forth by a new school year.

I live life from summer to summer. The summer I traveled to Spain. The summer my family camped in the Black Hills. The summer I turned 21. The summer I spent two weeks traveling the West Coast. The summer I traveled to Guatemala for the first time. The summer I became friends with Anna and Maria at church camp. The end of summer means a transition. A new beginning. A fresh start. Endless possibilities. Personally and professionally.

Driving home yesterday thoughts of passion and possibilities played in my head as I contemplated where I am at and where I am going. One month from now will be my 5th first day of school as a math teacher. I'm living with two of my very best friends in the world, but with a May 2014 end date in mind as one of them moves on to get married. I have spent the better part of the last year creating a life for myself here in the Twin Cities, rebuilding a support network of friends and family after three years away. I'm happy. There are quiet moments when I look around and cannot believe how incredibly blessed I am with this life. Then there are moments where I am restless. Where I want to know what the next big adventure is and when it starts. Moments where I want more passion, more love, more life....just MORE.

I want sunny skies with a chance of killer tornados, just to keep music (and life!) sounding good. I want to set my life on fire with a passion for living boldly. I am starting that work by getting real clear on what I value and surrounding myself with people who get me and get why these things are important. A work in progress, this list of values currently includes:

  • Learning
  • Passion
  • Reflection
  • Relationships 
  • Health
  • Growth
  • Input
While I focus my energy on getting my own values clear I look forward to conversations with others about what they value and why. The things we value, those things define us, they create our character. Often when asked what defines us we pick adjectives that sound good, things we would like to be, the best versions of ourselves. But these values I want to get clear on aren't what I think I should be or even what others think I should be...these things are the best way I have for describing what is important to me here and now. What are your core values? Let's get talking about it :)


  1. Love this post - and you really got me thinking! What really struck me as interesting is how my core values are aligned right NOW vs. how I fear they will be aligned in 2 weeks. My now list would be:
    -Presence/Mindfulness/Engagement (this is my work-in-progress!)

    My priorities will definitely shift in the next 2 weeks, where I think I'll be focused a lot more on the following at the expense of the above:
    -Confidence/leadership (another work-in-progress!)

    It struck me that these lists should ideally be one-in-the-same, not a "work list" and "play list". there's probably a school-year goal somewhere in there!

  2. Ahh I totally agree. Work versus play priorities can be so different... I feel like over summer I have so much time to think about what I want (even what I want in the classroom!) but then by mid-October I think I will just be in survival mode. Maybe more conscious awareness and planning can lead to more possibilities...