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.