I know I’m putting off something when I look desperately for just one more email to answer, and when I serve myself a bowl of chocolate sorbet and then go back to the freezer for two extra servings. Now I’m chewing my fingernails down to nubs. All this restlessness comes from a resistance to writing about the spring phase of Reschool Yourself.
I’ve been resistant to writing about my spring plans because they’ve changed somewhat since I envisioned the project almost a year ago. At the time, I was working 50-60 hours per week, and nothing sounded better than taking a learning adventure around the world. Thailand, China, New Zealand, Argentina, Egypt….I couldn’t wait to visit them all.
Since the summer, however, my wanderlust has turned into a craving for stability and structure. I’ve been nomadic and scattered, moving from San Francisco to Sonoma and traveling to all corners of North America for conferences and visits with friends, family, and my partner, Darren. I’ve felt unsettled by having most of my worldly goods stacked in my parents’ garage, and by living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time. My most grounded moments have been at Darren’s apartment in Mississippi, when we’ve stayed close to home and developed a healthy daily routine. I still have the desire to travel far and wide, and I may still do it this year, but first I need to ground myself.
I know that some people will be disappointed that I won’t be gallivanting around the world just yet. Others will be pleased that they won’t have to be wildly jealous. I’m just relieved that I’ll be in one place for a while so I can figure out what I want to do next.
Here’s what I envision for the second phase in relation to the first. The project concept is that it’s the first academic year that I’ve done on my own terms. In the fall, I’m looking back into my school classrooms and reflecting on how they shaped me. In the spring, I’m moving forward into the global classroom and deciding how I’ll create my own education and lifestyle from now on.
As planned, I’ll be letting the spring unfold spontaneously so I can take advantage of opportunities that arise. For now, here’s what I know:
1. I have a one-way ticket to the south on January 12. My baby sister gets married in New Orleans on January 17th, and on January 19th I return to Darren’s hometown of Jackson, MS, where I’ll be based at least through the spring.
2. My most important goal will be to become autonomous and self-confident. In the past, I’ve depended on people close to me to take care of me and even clean up after my mistakes. I’ll be learning whatever I decide I need to know to become as self-reliant as possible: for example, personal finance, history, and politics. I’ll also make an effort to stay plugged into current events and culture.
3. Darren and I will be teaching ourselves to provide for our own basic needs. Both to save money and build our self-sufficiency, we’ll grow a vegetable garden, learn to fish and build simple structures, sew, and fix things ourselves. Guided by the central question of Reschool Yourself, “What do you want to learn today?”, we’ll find ways to learn whatever interests us.
4. Travel will still be a key part of the spring phase. We have definite plans to visit alternative living communities in the deserts of New Mexico and organic farms in the northeastern U.S. I’m also fairly sure that we’ll go to Spain to revisit the places I studied and lived abroad, places that were essential to my out-of-the-classroom education. Israel, with its kibbutzim and democratic schools, will probably be on the itinerary for the fall. Destinations farther afield, like those originally envisioned, are certainly possibilities, and we’ll be flexible enough to take advantage of last-minute travel deals.
5. I’ll be expanding the reach of the project, in order to inspire others to move beyond the limits of traditional education, in thought and action. I’ll be introducing more readers to the site, blogging about my reschooling in both the fall and the spring, and writing the book.
Overall, I will be starting from square one and developing a sustainable lifestyle that works for me and answering questions like these by trial and error:
- Do I want to work from home, or get a structured job outside the house?
- What do I want to do all day?
- How much income do I need to be content and comfortable, and how do I want to earn it?
- When are my best work and sleeping hours?
- How can I ensure that I take care of myself with sleep, healthily eating, and exercise?
- Having grown up in the Bay Area all my life, will I be happy in the south, without my own car?
- Do I want to apply to grad school next fall?
It’s exciting that a given day in the spring could hold any number of possibilities, and that I’m learning to be OK with that uncertainty. I’m excited to start this new chapter of my life. I’m confident that come June, I’ll feel more grounded and balanced than I do now, and that is certainly something to look forward to.
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What are some of the questions that you hope to answer for yourself next spring?