This morning I needed a little extra motivation to get out of the house for my morning run. It was COLD, and not just cold, but also WINDY. Thankfully, I know what to do in this situation, so I pulled out my layers and actually felt a bit like an expert as I bundled up. I knew how much I needed to wear, and each piece had its own purpose. As it turns out, I was comfortable and well protected from the air and the dark (hello reflectors and LEDs!).

As I ran, I thought about the layering I had just done and some analogies to the layers that make us. Of course, the line from Shrek came to mind, “Ogres are NOT like parfaits!” Each of us is unique and complex, and thankfully we’re not ogres. Aside from the various roles we fulfill and the complexities that make us who we are, I was mostly thinking about the experiences each of us has had that have prepared us for the current moment and the next steps. And, let’s be honest, this was a reflective time for me, so I was pretty much thinking about myself.

My main focus (though I had time to let my mind wander) was my own professional journey–the learning, relationships, challenges, wins, new skills, etc. that have resulted from my schooling and career path. I was reflecting on 20+ years of experience, which (GASP!) makes me feel a little more mature than I like!

I never could have predicted the path I would take. I started out as a pre-med student with a million curiosities and interests. My liberal arts undergrad program opened up doors I never anticipated. I discovered that too many topics drew me in, which is the main reason I ended up not pursuing medical school. I dabbled in science, math, communication, literature, psychology, linguistics, and more. Spanish ended up sucking me in, which was unimaginable when I started at the U, but I am ever so grateful! A leaning toward public health gave way to a passion for education.

Fast forward 20 years, and obviously I’m a technology director now! Wait…what? Technology? Again, who would’ve known? Certainly not I! And so it is, that the layers of experience, opportunity, willingness to dive into the next options have added up to my current self. What a journey!

My takeaways from this thinking run along a couple of lines. First, I want my kids and others I influence to be open to opportunities they hadn’t even thought possible, to see options as they arise, and to take risks in order to pursue them. Secondly, wow! Science → humanities → Spanish → Argentina → teaching → pedagogy → staff development → technology integration → curriculum development → professional network → strategic planning → leadership → public speaking → extra degrees → team building → visioning → technology director → ??? Can’t wait to see what’s next! Journey on, friends!

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