I am Tracy Leanne Collins, so my initials, TLC, are pretty neat. I hail from Eastern, Ontario, Canada, but I’m currently living in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates with Steve, my husband, plus our two amazing dogs – Woogie and Chester.  Back in the day, I also lived in Pusan, South Korea, and Taipei, Taiwan. During these stints away, I travel, learn, and experience lots of nifty things. Unlike my first gig out of the country, when I was fresh out of university, I’ve now been working in my field for sixteen years or so. So I know things. Not all things. But some things.  

My field is education, but specifically, in the last six years, my specialty is in Ed Tech start-ups. These days, I head up the Client Experience team at Alef Education. We’re a team of 20, and we work with K12 schools here in the UAE, but also in the US, and we’ve got big plans to expand.

I’m contributing to this blog as a way to share my ideas and experiences. Plus, selfishly, it’s a creative outlet for me which has been missing in these last months.  I know Karine from home, so there is also some comfort in knowing that I can stay connected from the other side of the planet.

In terms of my disposition or personality, I’d say I’m generally a pretty happy person. An executive at my last company once described me as ‘effervescent,’ which I considered a great compliment. Unlike the ‘fake happy’ we see in our social feeds, how I experience the world is the result of a mindset cultivated from years of mishaps and mistakes and suffering and failings. But there were also lots of cool things that happened in between. So I’ve earned my stripes so to speak.

My current mindset is mainly due to a daily meditation practice I started about 18 months ago.  Nearly every single day, I meditate before bed. Sometimes I focus on my breath; sometimes I do a guided meditation; these days I’m experimenting with Transcendental Meditation or mantra meditation.  If I’m going through a rough patch, I add a morning session as well.

Not to be morbid, but a useful exercise to understand what makes you tick is to think of what people might say about you at your funeral. In my case, it won’t be a funeral at all – think more rave/rock concert on the beach with pink prosecco, oysters, BBQ, and a huge, really moist chocolate cake with mascarpone filling). Anyway, I’m pretty sure that between sips, there will be whimsical rememberings and people will say things like ‘Tracy was easy-going, affable, funny, friendly, helpful, and generally pretty swell.’ They’d also probably say I was a ‘get %*it done type of person,’ super reliable, hardworking, and trustworthy. There will be stories and pictures and memories shared from all the various chapters of my life.  Bad 80s and 90s hair pics will circulate; there will be backstage at rock concert stories, and fun party memories spanning several decades will be shared. While people might struggle to put their finger on it, there would be a general sense that I made people feel good and that I cared and listened and empathized. Or at least that’s how I hope I might be remembered.

When things suck, or I’m raging about something or feeling sorry for myself, I often think of this quote from Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

At the end of your life, when you take your last breath, how will you be remembered? This is what brings me back again and again to what matters in life.

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