I find that my priorities are beginning to shift.
While I will still continue to include lots of education posts in my 31 days of blogging, more and more of my mental and emotional energy is going into the immense physical challenge of getting ready to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with Dream Mountains.
I took this challenge on as a way of starting retirement and I guess as a way to rewire (or reprogram) myself after 31 years of working in the education world.
What is important to me is that in doing this climb, I have pledged to raise $6000.00 for the Senators Foundation – a charity that does lots of important work in and around our school community for our families. I wouldn’t be doing this if this was a bucket list thing, I’m not interested in projects that don’t tie into my former school community.
I was fortunate to meet up with Shawn Dawson who leads the Dream Mountains Foundation. Shawn is a very accomplished climber who is giving back to his community every year by recruiting and training 20 non-climbers to take on the challenge of a lifetime.
In the years Shawn has run these trips he has raised close to $1,000,000 – in fact, we will break this barrier very soon as we raise money for our different charities.
Our ultimate goal is to do 10 stories in 10 minutes per set. Right now, I am at 8 stories completed in under 13 minutes each.
I have a way to go.
We change things up by hiking an 8.5 km trail that quickly ascends 310 m. This past weekend, we did this ascent in 55 minutes – a good pace!
These hikes serve many important purposes – the main objective is to get to know your fellow climbers – these are the people who you will depend on during the climb and it is important to know who has your back on an arduous climb. The climb also gives you the opportunity to try out your equipment – a constant experiment and most importantly at this point, it gives you a chance to test your fitness level.
For me, I realize I have work to do, but that’s OK – this is January 16, and we don’t leave until the end of March. There is something wonderful in focusing on your physical fitness – it is so rare in this society that we have the opportunity to do this. After 31 years of working as an educator it is a very welcome change!
I am loving every minute of this experience – the training, the hikes, the constant learning and the team building. There is lots more to write about – especially how I hope to share this experience in real time as much as possible, but that is for a future post. Lots of time now to write.
Today, recover and get ready for another assault of the stairs.
Every Sunday, I try to read Brain Pickings. I used to read this to find something I could add to my staff blog. That is over now, but I still need to write and share. This quote from Marcus Aurelius seemed to be a great way to start as we all head back to some form of work.
At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
Marcus Aurelius – as read in Brain Pickings
Now is my time to redefine what it means to work. This is my first day without a formal ‘job’ in over 31 years. How I will define work will have to change.
There is plenty of ideas to fill the gap – no problem.
First, I pledged to do 31 posts in 31 days. This was to be the first real posting day, but I snuck in a few earlier. There is also the great challenge put out by AJ Juliani to blog for 30 days. Signed up for that too #30daysblogging.
That could be enough work to get me started, but I have also taken on a different challenge. I will be climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with a great group of adventurers at the end of March. I am doing this because I need to break out and take on a physical challenge. The climb also allows me to raise money for the Ottawa Senators Foundation – a group that does amazing work for our kids here in Ottawa.
No pressure, but if you want to donate to my charity (goal $6000.00) you can give on-line here.
This is my main work for the next three months.
I will also work on learning and reflecting on what I have experienced as an educator over the past 31 years. The more distance I get from my conventional job the easier – I think – it will be for me to reflect, learn and of course write. This blog will actually help me to focus my learning. There are so many directions I can go in now that I am finally freed from my daily work obligations. This blog may help me to focus on a few learning goals that I can move through over the next few months.
For today, an eight-kilometre hike in -30 C conditions. A good start, I think for the first new day of learning.
As my first of 31 posts in 31 days, it makes sense to start with future plans. This blog is names ‘Teach Talk’ and this has been my main vehicle to write about education issues and projects. This really is no different, the trip to Kilimanjaro will raise money for kids in our school neighbourhood, helping them to get involved in recreation programming in their neighbourhood. I also plan to use different forms of communication technology to reach back into the classrooms that I can link to.
So, here is #1 – the beginning of the next adventure.
In 95 days, I will be setting out on a brand new adventure. I will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a wonderful group of Adventurers led by Shawn Dawson.
I am writing this post for a variety of reasons. Some of you have already donated on my fundraising page – thanks so much! I am already at 48% of my goal of $5000.00. All this money will go to the Sens Foundation and then directly to Rec Link – a wonderful organization that supports kids and families in the Dalhousie, Ottawa Center West neighbourhoods. I want to thank all of you for helping me get half way there!
For you and all future supporters, I created this email group so I can let you know how the climb goes. I have invested in all sorts of communication technology that I will use to connect to students in schools. My main platform to tell our story is produced by ESRI and you can access it here. This is a work in progress and I want to publically thank ESRI for all the wonderful support they have given me.
Finally, I am looking for your support. You can join us for our January 27th (Friday) Gala Fundraiser Retirement Party (see above). Tickets are $25.00 and if you register on-line, we will get tickets to you and you will get a tax receipt!
This promises to be a wonderful night with live music and a great silent auction.
Many of you have supported me on past projects like the Aviva Community Foundation – you are a great, dynamic group that in the past has allowed me to raise $140,000.00 for St. Anthony School. Now, I would love you to join me on this great adventure and contribute to a really important organization.
Thanks so much for reading this and for your support!!