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All Roads Lead to…

November 23, 2010

This is the time of year in every international school when people begin talking about “the future”.  Conversations involve the transience of school staffs – Who’s staying?  Who’s leaving?  Where’s your next country?  Who’s going back home? etc. Come mid-January everyone at our school needs to inform admin of their plans.  You need to tell them if you plan to extend your contract for another year, or if you plan to seek employment elsewhere.

I was having dinner with two friends tonight about this and what their plans were.  They answered in percentages like, 70% staying, 30% leaving or 50/50.  Conversations with other co-workers are often similar, and it seems to often end with…Well, it depends…When people ask me, I always have the same answer, 99% staying for a 3rd year. But this time next year, who knows if I’ll be so sure.  With this year being easier than last, I’ve had more time to think and reflect, and think about the future, not just about next year but for the years ahead.

I’ve been lucky enough to have this freedom of choice and opportunity in my life.  But at the same time, it’s a little scary.  Having this extra time to think has made me more homesick than I’ve been before.  It’s made me ask the questions, When will I go home? How long will I stay in Kuwait?  Where might I teach next? I’m happy here, but I know I could be happy at home too.  I don’t know what I’m really trying to say, rather than I wish I had as many answers as I did questions.  I’ve told others that I can’t wait until I’m older, say…mid-30’s.  I figure by that time I’ll have more answers, more solidarity in my mind.  The years ahead will seem so much more clear.  I don’t know how long I’ll be able to “ramble” like this.  I don’t mean to sound sorrowful at all because I don’t feel that way…just contemplative.

All this talk of the future makes me think about happiness…being happy.  I realized there are many places, many ways for people to be happy.  I want to believe that there are many roads we could take to reach this same destination.  Unfortunately, I’m thinking myself trying to figure out, trying to learn which way, which place will make me the happiest.  I’m not one of those people that believe in fate, but I do believe in the connectivity of events.  To get even more abstract, I’ve thought about it this way (and sometimes it helps to ease my mind).  For example,  how many times have you heard someone say, “Oh, this was meant to be.” or something along those lines.  I’ll sometimes respond in my head, It was meant to be, because that’s what happened…and now you can’t change it.  In other words, that person took a particular direction in life and found contentedness within it.  I’m not saying this is good or bad, that’s just what happened.  If this person took a different course in life, he/she (chance are) would be saying the same thing:  “This was meant to be.”  Ultimately, because she found contentedness in another form.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that while we are living our lives, making the best decisions for ourselves at the given time, years later we will be singing a similar tune.  For example, if I were not living in Kuwait and I was teaching back home or something, I would find justification in my present state…the way I have found it here.  That being said, whether I end up teaching in Tunisia in couple years or flying back home to Seattle or staying in Kuwait for 5+ years (it does happen, people), I will find something positive from each of those experiences.  Those positives won’t always be the same, but I’ll have something to show for it no matter which scenario I ultimately find myself.

These are the kinds of things that often rack my brain.  It’s exhilarating in a way to think of the possibilities, but sometimes I just wish someone would tap me on the shoulder, point and say, “That’s the way to go.  Go that way, and you’ll KNOW you’ve made the right decision.  No 70%-30% here.  All signs point to ‘yes’.”  But I can’t wait around for something like that to happen.  Because at some point I’ll have to give myself that tap on the shoulder (and maybe you’re in a similar place).  At some point I might find this big fat fork in the road, splitting my life into different directions…each one with arrows where it says: “To (continued) Happiness”.  Then I’m through the jetway and buckled up.  If it’s not a direct flight, I hope the layover isn’t too long…though I might make an exception if it’s a really nice airport. :)

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2010 3:10 am

    1) It doesn’t get easier with age.
    2) Nobody will tap you on the shoulder
    3) You need to live your live for you and nobody else
    4) Taking risks is what living is all about.

    – We signed and turned in our contracts a two weeks before they were do. First time ever….but it was after many a sleepless nights, meetings with admin, and taking time to stop, reflect, and allow the noise to settle enough to tell us what the right decision is.

    – And as you so well stated….no matter what you choose it will be the right choice….we always make the best of what we got.

    – Life is an adventure……live it like you love it…..and no regrets
    the three simple rules that we live by.

    Good luck my friend with your decision!


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