Life After 30

Though 30 by 30 has officially ended, the need to address the issue has not. In the 15 months since my 30th birthday, my Zumba classes, a screening of Half the Sky, and an SSIS teacher talent show have raised another $2,000 USD for girls’ education. On the awareness front, a student club called Girl Rising is still tackling the issue, and I hope the keynote speech I was honored to deliver at the GIN Saigon 2015 conference has sparked a few more students’ interests.


What’s next? I’m not exactly sure.

I thought I might feel a bit more scared about not knowing what’s next, and I was for a bit, but now I’m excited by the possibilities. I’m 31, three months away from being jobless, and very content.

Here is what I know for (almost) certain:

  • I am preparing for an exploratory year (or more?) of volunteering, hiking, cycling, and living simply.
  • My work for equitable access to education and opportunities is not finished.
  • I’m open to spending time on any continent, involved in any project whose mission strikes me.
  • The “Reflecting Back” part of this project is still waiting for me to finish it.
  • I may need to borrow your spare bedrooms 🙂

Here is (a fraction of) what I am wondering:

  • How can I get involved beyond the fundraising and awareness raising level? What projects exist that match my skills and interests? How helpful can I be in regions with more serious inequality issues?
  • What would it take to organize a multi-day fundraising cycle tour? A Bike for Bikes on a larger scale? Where? When? How? Who would join?
  • Do I keep blogging? What should I call my new blog? Will I make another dance video?
  • What trails/routes should I hike and cycle??? I need a bit more nature in my life for a recharge!

Stay tuned for more as some of what I’m wondering turns into reality.

In the meantime, enjoy this poem by Judy Brown.  After ten years of classroom teaching, I am taking next year to honor the space between the logs.


What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.

When we are able to build
open spaces
in the same way
we have learned
to pile on the logs,
then we can come to see how
it is fuel, and absence of the fuel
together, that make fire possible.

We only need to lay a log
lightly from time to time.

A fire
simply because the space is there,
with openings
in which the flame
that knows just how it wants to burn
can find its way.


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