Friday, April 23, 2010

You Only Live Once

I can recall lying in bed awake the night before my Grade 8 graduation. I was thinking about how exciting my life was going to be and how I couldn’t wait to grow old and do all the things that older people were able to enjoy.

Fast-forward ten years and here I am sitting at my computer one week away from completing my graduate program in education wishing that I could go back in time and do everything over again.

Unfortunately, the ability to go back in time has not yet been discovered and I am on a collision course with my future. Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t have a bad experience growing up, but like any big change in life it’s hard to give up the norm for the unknown.

If I had the opportunity to go back – I don’t think I would. I’ll leave puberty, silly haircuts, pimples and bad dates in the past and use all my extra energy to focus on the future. There is one thing I can do though and that is reflect on my past experiences to help aid in my future endeavors.

In education they ask us – as future educators – to reflect on everything we do because it will help us to improve our talent and aid in accommodating how we teach our students in the future. I think my teachers might be on to something here. While I agree reflection is excellent for changing how educators go about preparing instructions I also believe that we could all go one step further and practice the art of reflecting on our own lives.

So, now you thinking: why should I reflect? The only response I can give to that is: would it hurt to try? From my own personal experience I can tell you that writing and keeping notes on the past year has taught me a lot about myself. It’s helped me to accept growing older and is a constant reminder of where I am going and why I want to get there.

In Grade 7 my teacher asked the whole class to memorize The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. For those of you who have not read the poem before I’ll give you a quick summary: It’s a poem about someone (perhaps Frost himself) standing in a forest at a fork in a road. He talks about trying to choose between the two and he explains that one looks like a lot of people have taken it and the other looks like very few people have taken it at all. In the end Frost writes, “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less traveled by,/And that has made all the difference.”

I used to see life like that. I thought that I could take the road less traveled and experience a life that was different than any other. What I am slowly starting to realize is that all lives are unique. There is no popular road because we are all on a unique journey through life. While some of us may settle and conform to a life that others may view as “regular” it doesn’t mean that those people aren't living a life that is unique to them.

As I sit here one week away from the realities that await me in the “working world” I have come to the conclusion that life is not about reaching a specific destination, but enjoying the journey.


Anonymous said...

Well said. We all hope and strive for that final destination but once it is reached we look back or shall I say 'reflect' and realize how memorable that journey was.

Mari-Anne Boudreau said...

OK..I'm hooked! Your writing is thoughful, reflective, and inspiring. I have no doubt that you will make an awesome teacher..the kind that students remember years down the road. Keep posting when you get your job! Congratulations on reaching the end of this journey and best wishes to you on your next one.

Anonymous said...

It does't matter what fork you choose every path leads us to our final destination some just take longer.