Recently, I decided to start seeing a counselor/therapist from time to time. I am pretty diligent about exercising and caring for my physical body, so I figured why not make sure I am caring for my mental health as well. In my visit with her today, we talked about how my return to California this summer needs to be a time of mental reset and peace-finding. It is one of the reasons I love going to the West Coast in the summer. The West Coast lives life at a slower pace than Midwesterners and lifestyles pretty much across the board are just healthier. For me, it is a time to reset, recuperate, and rejuvenate in between school years. It allows me to remove myself from the routine of my Midwestern teaching life and still my soul. Needless to say, I am thrilled to begin my return visit this summer (in 4 days, but who's counting).
In my visit with my counselor this morning, I was flattered by her suggestion that I was "a little California for the Midwest." She offered that sometimes the dissonance I feel in my current place in life might be due to the fact that I see the world differently than many Midwesterners. This is neither to suggest a good or bad perspective here; its just different. As I reflect on that comment, which she probably didn't intend to linger in my mind as much as it has, I wonder if that is why I find such joy and renewal in each visit I make to California. People live and think differently there. Although geography unites California and Indiana by country lines, we are really worlds apart in some ways.
As I look toward this journey, I look forward to the reset, recuperation, and rejuvenation I find on the West Coast. If nothing else, it allows me to understand a different world so I don't take the one in which I live for granted. This summer will bring new challenges, development, refinement, and perspective. I look forward to it, and I am grateful that I am fortunate enough to make this opportunity happen for myself again. (And especially grateful to Puente for allowing me to return and serve their students.) Heeding the advice of one of my administrators and evaluator this year, my head is on a swivel seeking opportunity and adventures from wherever they might come. And maybe I will return to the Midwest even more California than when I left.