(1) to learn to teach English as a second language. I completed a 140-hour online course and learned I don't want to teach English as a second language. Good to know.
(2) to help build houses for Habitat for Humanity in my community and then to help in an area affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I did that. I learned I love the idea but, unless I'm working with a group of seniors, I don't have the stamina to go the whole day. I need to take a nap after lunch! Also good to know.
(3) to take mediation training . I did that this week. I learned I love, love, love the concept and the process and the possibilities, that I've got what it takes, and that I will continue the practicum and the advanced training to become a certified mediator in the State of Washington. Wonderful to know!
The basic training was 8:30 to 5:30 every day this week. A combination of lecture, discussion, individual and small group work and role playing. It was one of the finest trainings I have ever attended - very well organized, with skilled teachers, and experienced coaches for the mock mediations, and completely appropriate manual and handouts. Time passed quickly each day, and though I was tired as I drove home, I was exhilarated. I found that my ability to listen, to ask questions and speak clearly, my prior experiences facilitating in the workplace and mentoring in my private life, and my interest in helping people resolve their differences, have prepared me for this new avocation. As I said to one of the trainers, "It feels like my whole life has led me to walk into this room."
Usually, the work required for a certification takes a year or two, depending on my availability and the learning opportunities that come up. I'll take the test from the basic training, interview with the staff, and then earn credits by observing mediations, taking a course in family mediation, co-mediating 12 times, doing inservice tasks or role playing or observing/mediating in small claims court, or attending outside trainings or conferences. Almost all of this sounds interesting and exciting to me.
In the last two days of training, three of the trainers and coaches talked to me privately. They had all noticed my excitement or observed my work. They all said they'd been affected the same way when they'd attended their first training, and that mediation had remained a sustaining satisfaction for them for the years they'd been doing it. One of them concluded our talk with "Welcome to the fold." The mediation community is welcoming me already.
If I become certified, my work will most likely be as a volunteer, which is fine. I'll still be able to do all the other things I love, including travel.
Even though I had this training as a goal, I still feel like I've stumbled into something for which I feel a passion. Like it's been waiting for me, you know? And like it's what I'm supposed to do.
I love it when that happens!