Change can be a beautiful and, at times, unsettling experience.
With each finished project marked off our list and each pre-voyage milestone traversed, I feel the winds of change grow a bit stronger. Today, was somewhat of a landmark day. I’ve spent the last two years teaching undergraduate students at a local university, a second job that has consumed my evenings and weekends. A position that I have loved. I submitted my final grades today and, for the first time in two years, I now have but one job. Amen, hallelujah, and…a twinge of sadness. I will not teach again until we reach the other side of the pond.
Early on, my teaching experience was marked by exuberance but accompanied by trepidation and self-doubt. Over time, my experience evolved. I gained confidence and began to connect with my students. In the eyes of my students, I’ve seen many of the same questions, curiosities, and fears that I, too, experienced during my late teens and early twenties. I’ve had the good fortune of spending multiple quarters with a number of students, which has given me the opportunity to watch some of those young people grow over time and begin to make plans for their future. They aspire to be mental health providers, nurses, and writers. Some of them don’t know what they want to do for work and just hope they figure it out sooner rather than later. They long for adventure, have big dreams, and fear failure. I can’t help but wonder what each of them would do if money was no object.
The nature of dreams and fears changes with time, but I hope neither ever ceases to exist. I’ve come to appreciate that whether we are 10, 20, 30, 50, or 80, we are all beginning to carve one new path or another. Life is series of beginnings and endings, births and deaths, crests and troughs. In the lyrics of an old country song, “The only thing that stays the same is everything changes.” I taste the familiar flavors of angst muddled with eagerness and hope, the cocktail that tends to accompany new beginnings for me. Even the most welcomed opportunities may be marked by growing pains, and there are certainly moments of ache as Neil and I careen toward cruising.
Thank you, my loving husband, for supporting me during the maddening moments and late nights of teaching and for celebrating my successes along the way. Now, on to my next adventure…
Photo by our friend, Sergey Fedorovsky.