To One and For All: A Pointed, Promising, and Future-facing Reflection

Have you ever set out to write with broad appeal only to discover that over the course of a few paragraphs you slowly end up writing to/at a single individual or group? This happens to me with uncomfortable frequency, so instead of feeling hoodwinked by my own creative cognition, I’m deciding to shoot more direct from the get (take that…myself). While I don’t intend to specifically call anyone out, I can say with absolute certainty that this piece has an intended audience of ONE.

And while this might seem like a waste of time; besides, who knows if I’ll gain the attention of this single targeted individual (or if I do, if they’ll even know they’re the chosen one), but in the end, I’m not sure it matters. Framing with this intention from the outset frees me to write with added nuance. I can make obscure references. I can let go of the self-criticism and judgment that often accompanies writing to all of humanity. In other words, if you find what follows difficult to track, I suppose that’s the point because odds are it wasn’t written for you anyway.

I appreciate the intellectual hope and energy you’ve reintroduced to my life. I admit (as I assume many education professionals likely would) that my energy and optimism come in unpredictable (often unprovoked) waves. Though my temperament often appears stoic and unwavering, like most emotional hominids, I still experience stochastic fluctuations of intrigue, insight, and inspiration. This isn’t to say that my calm demeanor is a phony front, but it’s true that I occasionally find myself using it as a safe suit of emotional armor. Should I be ashamed or proud to be aware?

For reasons I can’t fully explain, the past year has been a slow slide towards a creative and motivational trough. Higher education has me uninspired. Hopeful projects seem to repeatedly run into tiring red tape, there’s a broken record of promising trends that never seem to move beyond the peak of inflated expectations, I’m feeling professionally misaligned with a potential course correction years in the making, and last I checked, Donald Trump was still our President (largely unconnected but poignant).

As Freire so eloquently proclaims…

“I have the right to be angry and to express that anger, to hold it as my motivation to fight, just as I have the right to love and to express my love for the world, to hold it as motivation to fight, because while a historical being, I live history as a time of possibility, not of predetermination.”

And with this rather hopeless reality relentlessly battering my sails, I received a cosmic inquiry and reason to fight…a possibility; one that has brought an otherwise absent silver lining back into view (it’s amazing what a few simple sentences can do to an otherwise disheartened state of consciousness). There are those who intersect my reality on the periphery, but create lasting impact with frequency (mostly through writing and other open forms of educational activism). You exist on such a periphery; likely unaware of how far your inspirational and ideological shockwaves travel.

I find my current interests and potential for impact to be urgent. The educational landscape around me is shifting, and those with the needed habitus of mind to meaningfully bend the future must shift with it. I have no intention of remaining a caterpillar as the world around me evolves into a butterfly of unpredictable beauty. Nature does not take a necessary course towards positivity and progress; it simply evolves with or without our collective focus on shaping its entropic inevitability. I’m excited for 2019 (something I might have struggled to utter a mere month ago). My dreams peppered with laughter; delusions of professional promise lost; dormant pedagogical potential lifted; and Denver, a renewed position of existential livelihood.