Never Too Old!

Over the past two months I’ve been preoccupied with two things: the approach of a big birthday with a zero on the end, and my first ever public speaking engagement. Both of these things scared me, and the weird thing is that I think the birthday is what motivated me to accept the speaking engagement. Call it a midlife crisis, if you will.

I guess I figured I’d wasted enough time saying “I couldn’t do that,” and it was time to just do it. (I don’t have time to waste anymore!) I’d agreed to lead some friends on a special nature walk, and we’d scheduled it for my birthday (unbeknownst to them — it was my secret plan to use them to keep myself busy on the big day). I looked forward to showing them dragonflies on my birthday, but then life threw me a curveball in the form of the complicated schedule of an electrician. So I rescheduled the nature walk for the day before my birthday, and the highlight of my birthday turned out to be my ability to sweet-talk an electrician into a birthday discount.

Then I had to endure the next eight days of waiting for my dragonfly program. And believe me, I sure know how to make a lot of drama about something in my head: “I’ll say something stupid,” or “The computer will break,” or “People will take screenshots of my face.” Oh man, somebody should have just slapped me out of it. But I practiced it over and over, recording myself on Zoom and even reciting it in the car as I drove around town. #CrazyDriverAlert

But the day finally came and I felt fine…until an hour before the program. That’s when I started feeling really nervous. And a couple things at the beginning of the Zoom call caught me by surprise and almost threw me off my game, but I recovered and it went just fine. Completely fine. And I even sort of enjoyed it. No, I really enjoyed it. For the first three minutes I felt like I was going to hyperventilate, but nobody seemed to notice that. Amazing.

One of the slides from my program (video link below)

The audience was made up of people from nine states as well as Canada and Finland, and I was thrilled to see that everyone seemed to like it. I was told by quite a few people that they would have had no idea it was my first time if I hadn’t confessed to that fact. I’m so pleased to know that I pulled it off, and I’m proud of myself for continuing to push myself to do things that scare me, even at this point in my life.

So here’s the recording (click the image below). You’ll hear about cool stuff like insect sex and butt propulsion, among others. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope it serves as a reminder to anyone else who might have the level of self-doubt that plagues me — you can do so much more than you might think, no matter your age. And the feeling of having done it…well, that’s priceless!


  1. After checking your website due to email notification, I listened to your Ode program via Facebook today 19July21. It took you many hours to put together and it was GREAT! I don’t believe this was your first public preso! Making time for practice, makes perfect; you proved that! After following your blog for awhile, I had the impression you’d been a “naturalist”, “interpreter” or teacher somewhere in your past career… so, I couldn’t believe that was your first “public” program. Maybe it was only your first public Zoom/Webinar πŸ™‚ ?


    • Ron, thank you for the kind words about my program. While I’ve led a few dragonfly field trips, this really was my first public program, on Zoom or anywhere else. In my preparations I’d read an article that recommended you practice one hour for each minute of your program. That would have meant 45 hours of practice, and I didn’t get anywhere near that, but I did do about eight full run-throughs of it beforehand to get comfortable with the material so it would feel like a more natural presentation style.


  2. Kim,
    I really enjoyed your presentation. It was fun and interesting from beginning to end, and you helped me identify a few species that I had been uncertain about. Thanks so much!!


  3. I enjoyed your talk and I think you are an excellent speaker. I hope you are given many more opportunities to share your knowledge and enthusiasm!


  4. You did a great job. Don’t ever doubt your speaking ability. I enjoyed every minute of this presentation. You have given yourself a gift that will, I hope, keep on giving. I also thought the dragonfly wings coming out of your head as you spoke a great prop. Happy Birthday too.


    • Thank you, Lisa! I appreciate the kind words and birthday wishes. And I’ve been using that dragonfly Zoom background all through the pandemic, in every board meeting. I should change it up though, now that I think of it…my fellow board members are probably tired of it by now, LOL. Thanks for taking time to leave a comment. πŸ™‚


    • Cindy, thank you. You were one of the great presenters I wanted to emulate, so thanks for being a role model and being so encouraging to me. I’m quite the happy girl tonight as more of my friends are getting to see the program!


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