Tuesday, December 27, 2011
This time of year people seem to spend a lot of time thinking about their goals. Must be that looming January 1st coming up. A new opportunity, for sure, a fresh year. But also a moment when you need to face what you achieved in the past year, and what you didn't. The Resistance generally has a field day with the latter. We are so good at breaking ourselves down; if anybody else talked to us the way we talk to ourselves we'd run a mile in the opposite direction.
Somebody on Facebook asked whether we were where we thought we would be 10 years ago. Being a young 'un, she is only 10 years out from high school - in my case, it's been over 30 years. Gulp. What were my goals then, and what have I achieved?
There is no question that I have achieved one of my major goals, although I might not have articulated it that well at the time. I have a husband and three lovely children, all of whom are bidding fair to become people I'm going to want to know when they are adults. Not something to be taken lightly, I assure you. I made a couple of false starts on the marriage front, and I'm very glad I didn't make any innocent bystanders in those circumstances.
When I signed up to study physics in 1983 it was a very wrong choice for me, made for all the wrong reasons. I can't believe I made it all the way to a Ph.D. Just because I'm smart and capable of doing something didn't mean I had to do it. My health suffered along the way as all the wrong reasons went straight for my gut. I'm still paying the price for that. I would never have finished it without the support of my wonderful husband. It is also true that I would never have met him if I had not gone through the agony of trying to become a physicist. Maybe that was the purpose of the exercise?
After we came here, I became a research scientist for a few years. Not the right thing for me, either. Again, I'm smart and capable and I did quite well, but I didn't like it. So I became a university instructor for a few years. I did well, but the university was looking to increase its research profile, so there was no job for a person who didn't want to do physics research. Onwards.
I went back to university and got a Bachelor of Education degree. Now I am a certified teacher, and I do enjoy teaching. I'm also slowly pursuing a certificate in Technical Communication, because writing seems to be one of the things I do best, and is also most compatible with spending time with my children and taking care of my health. Sleep deprivation, in particular, can be problematic for teachers, especially relatively new ones, and my health depends quite crucially on getting enough sleep. It's an issue.
Regardless of where I end up with the teaching, there is no question that the B.Ed., like the Ph.D. before it, was not a waste of time. When I need to advocate for my children, I get a whole different level of respect and cooperation from the teachers, because I speak their language and understand their perspective.
So many twists and turns in the road, and the show ain't over yet. I was talking with a friend today about putting together a resume as a technical writer, and she told me to put in every piece of software I ever worked with. Oh, the memories of using WordPerfect in the 80s, of programming in FORTRAN and C and C++ in the 90s. So many things that had their uses in the past, and may turn out to be unexpectedly useful in the future.
Goals are great to have, but they do tend to shift with time ... how have yours twisted and turned and shook themselves while you weren't looking?