Drinking the Kool-Aid

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Nov 26 2011


I often find myself talking about my ‘lack of direction’–but without fail, upon reflection, I remember that the problem is that I feel compelled to go in too MANY directions.

These are the things that make me go. Someone show me how to live a life that changes the world and involves some satisfactory combination of these things:

-          Changing the landscape of education in San Antonio, TX.

-          Living in Portland, OR.

-          Feminist action.

-          Anti-racist action.

-          Completing tasks; to-do lists.

-          Planning & organizing (orchestrating events, writing agendas, etc.)

-          Helping new teachers. More specifically, new TFA corps members once they have started teaching. Post-labor-day but pre-rejuvenation first-year teachers.

-          Making life easier for teachers in general. This CRAZY job should be … redistributed, somehow.

-          Working with TFA people.

-          Human Biology, physiology, pathology. Pharmacology (I think). ANATOMY.

-          Working for equality in health care in the US.

-          Paying attention and getting others to pay attention to climate change.

-          Mobilizing, motivating YOUNG PEOPLE.

-          Traveling alone to a bunch of big cities (Chicago, London, Memphis are next on my list)

-          Learning math (myself).

-          Thinking about how humans learn and conceptualize mathematics.

-          Getting better at rowing (in a good eight, a single, a double, or a pair).

-          Dancing Argentine Tango.

-          Spending lots of time with children between 0 and 8 years of age.

-          Making music in groups.

The thing that makes this so infuriating is that I could live an amazing and fulfilling life pursuing any one of these items in relative isolation. If I found a way to work really hard at giving something to the world, I could do it through any one of these avenues and call it my whole life’s calling.

I know I don’t need to create the perfect life built flawlessly in a way that Makes Sense from all these pieces–and I know most of these pieces really only mean to me what they do because of my exposure and experiences thus far. I know that I’m much more likely to live life like a hummingbird with ADD than a visionary with a single mission. But I DO feel, and can’t shake the feeling, that I’m missing out on something major by not choosing All of the Above.

2 Responses

  1. A

    Epic Systems is a company that has an office in Portland (I think)- its headquarters is in Madison, whose goal is to improve healthcare systems around the US. It’s very computer science based. As a Project Manager, you would do a lot of travel to major cities and could probably incorporate some of those things. With volunteering or taking on an online role with TFA, you might be able to accomplish some other things too.

  2. G

    I totally understand the hummingbird with ADD feeling…welcome to my world. I have been so random in my life, and for a while, it bothered me. Then, a few years ago, I decided that it was ok to want to do so many different things, sometimes all at once. You have the upper hand (I think) because you are mega-organized (unlike my serious randomness that does not allow me to even think about a to-do list). Then again, sometimes you just have to follow your heart (cliched, I know…but still) and go where it takes you. You are going to do amazing things…I just know it!

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