On the virtue of Facebook

Disclaimer: 

This post is not for anyone but myself if you don't care to read more about me and my past then I highly suggest you wait until my next posting. I will be teaching you how to make fresh pita bread from scratch but until then…you've been warned.

Secondary Disclaimer: 

Indeed, I am praising Facebook. But only because of what it CAN do…not what it DOES do. Want a reality check? Go look through you Facebook photos from start to finish. Come back to me and tell that you didn't just have new perspective on your life. That is what Facebook should do, reconnect you with life, family and friends. Not tell me to like your silly personality test from Buzzredtwitgawk.com

I have lived an amazing and wonderful life. As you well know I just went through a pretty major breakup and I needed a change. That change was Japan. Was it the right choice? I don't know, but here I am now and I've been asked to tell the Ashikaga Board of Education about my life, what I like and what I have done, etc. That is a seriously hard question to answer and I've been thinking about it pretty heavily lately. Even without the added incentive to divulge my life in front of very well dressed people drinking tea.

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The conclusion that I came up with is that my life is astoundingly good and I have been blessed with so many amazing experiences and even more fantastic people. I can honestly say I have grown into far more then I ever imagined possible. There are times in your life when you are sad and lonely; wondering what happened to all the happiness that you used to have. Honestly, I'm going through that right now and, though I rarely do this, I'm looking at my old Facebook photos from when I first began Facebook. Something like 8 years ago, maybe 9..10 (How old is Facebook?), I'm not really sure. What I am sure of is that there is nothing for me to be sad about and the experiences that I've gained and the lessons I've learned... well some people travel their entire lives and don't learn them. I've been blessed to learned them at the ripe age of 27.

Upon looking back, I started tearing up and crying with a giant huge smile and thousands of warm memories wrapping me in the embrace that only years of life can bring. Years of life in where you are truly given the freedom to be who you are. Not a year has gone by that I haven't challenged myself and grown into more then I am. I didn't even realize it upon looking back on Facebook. I'm striving unconsciously to discover even more facets of what I can do and where I belong in the world. So looking back I found myself reminiscing just a little bit about what I've done in each of these years. More as a reminder that I am somebody in the world and I have made an impact. So here it goes...the virtues of Facebook.

It will remind of just how much life you have lived and how far you've grown: 

Oh man, look at that punk high school kid fresh out of school and in a big college up on Lake Erie. Damn, I thought I was something. Little did i know that I am not an artist, at least definitely not a good one, and there were plenty of other actors/artists/musicians out there that were far far better then me. But you know what? I had something to prove and I worked hard at getting better.

Alas, to no avail. This was really a year of discovery for me; just like it is for most people in their first years of college. I tried acting, arts and sports but nothing really helped me to find out who I was, what was my mark and how was I going to make it. In fact, this year is pretty much summed up by putting on a facade and pretending to be someone else. The relationships that I had and the friends that I made are mirror images of this fact; gone and never heard from again. A distant and fleeting shadow in my blur of college. Callous...but true. Then I found these photos again...

It reminds you of the best moments of life and the people that made it that way:

 

Awesome, now we're getting somewhere. This is the beginning of me figuring out who I am and what I have done. My life just rammed into full stop and a reality check was waiting for me in the form of Outdoor Odyssey. I'm not going to explain what that organization is. It is far to complicated and the tangents that I would go on will make this the longest post in the history of Wordpress. But here, this place...here is where I learned that I could impact lives.

Here is where I found the friends who I firmly believe are unmatched in the world. The family that will follow me and support me, still, to this very day. This place is where I discovered who I was and what I was meant to do. This is where I learned that I wanted to be a teacher and this is where I found my spot in the world.

The days in between those times just aren't even worth mentioning. It was college and shit happened. ODO, that was real, that was life and just thinking about it and all the experiences that I had makes everything bad in the world seem so small and all the good things just jump out. Putting how the next 3 years of life felt for me is rather hard and I don't really think I can do it justice…also it won't mean anything to my readers that aren't from Outdoor Odyssey, plus honestly I don't care if you get it because this post is mine and mine alone. I'm actually quite surprised you're reading this sentence. Kudos!

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It forces nostalgia upon you and challenges you to remember when you thrived:

And then Cheley happened. This took what ODO taught me and put it the test. I was placed in charge of a massively huge program and put into the higher echelons of staff at a camp that barely new me and only saw me on paper before meeting me. I showed up 2 weeks early and wandered around the mountains of Colorado in the winter time, took some awesome photos and generally twiddled my thumbs and ate ramen.

 

 

But then the thaw came and I was ready to unleash a new torrent of life into people all around me and unleash I did. Everything that I was and everything that I new about art, teaching management, lessons, inspiration and how to keep people in the loop was firmly pressed into my initial surge of energy. I met some fantastic people from all over the world and I am pleased to say that I have friends from almost every major country, I'm quite sure every state in America, and that's pretty cool.

Because to me that means that I’ve grown out of my box and that is success in this life. Cheley, you are an amazing place, you change lives.

You changed mine and gave me the courage and confidence to know that I can take control and I can make something better then what it was and leave it primed and ready for the next visionary to come.

It gently (read: VIOLENTLY) nudges you into being productive about life goals: 

After my brief stint in the Colorado Rockies, I ventured over to the beautiful redwood forests of California and lived for a time as a naturalist. Gained the name 'Zephyr' or 'Zeph Zeph' and learned even more about myself. I gained another family that I never suspected I would have.

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Just like the amazing support that I receive from ODO, I now receive equal support from the SMOE natties. My time there not only firmly grounded my beliefs in education, but it also deeply rooted the idea of change and revolution into my mind.

It has always been my dream to open my own school. At first, I was basing it on other existing systems but then after living in a system with no system, except for the one that the teacher creates, and that allows you to engage with all intelligence types and age groups…whew! I found that I wasn’t just dissatisfied with the education in the world today...I HATE it and I want to change it. To bring it closer to the experiences that I’ve had at Cheley, at SMOE, and at ODO.

Power should be returned back to the teacher. Tests should abolished, grades should be kept but they should be…informal evaluations and talks about how you're doing. Administrations should not do anything but keep the school running smoothly and there should be little to no crossover between the two parties. In fact, administration SHOULD be teachers and should also be rotated on a regular basis. Nothing gets stale that way and new ideas are always flowing. Each should simply trust the other to help out when it’s needed and to do the job that is given to them. By this, and only by this, will you allow a teacher to open up to their lessons and truly be educators, not simply instructors. You can't teach from a book.You teach from life.

So now after 2 minor life crisis, a hiatus to the desert, an extended backpacking trip to run from society, a failed attempted at grad school, a journey halfway across the world and a crushing blow to my happy face...I’m ready to trust in education and life again. So bring it Japan. Let’s see what you got.

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And there you have it…just by looking at Facebook photos I was reminded of life and all the great things it's given me. Go on, go look back…see what you've forgotten. Maybe you'll find new perspective too.