The past few weeks have been pretty tense for me. At the start of the summer I was on the search for a teaching position for the upcoming academic year. As we all know, looking for a job is stressful in itself, especially in this crazy economy, and probably even more so in the teaching field where the competition is pretty fierce. It will be my first position as the actual teacher in the US, as before I was working as a teacher's aide, which although is still in the teaching field, is pretty different to taking on the role as the teacher. You want find something which suits you well, where you will be happy, and have the potential to grow. Finding the right job no easy task.
As well as this, I've been driving round and around and around trying to master the techniques behind the wheel as well as grasp the Dallas road system. A skill the average American will probably take for granted, but when driving isn't in your blood from 15, it's not the easiest task to master, especially in Dallas, where the roads never end, the cars zoom, and the traffic is jam packed. Living in the US for over a year without driving (as an adult) and most of you will probably go stir crazy when you really can't leave the house alone to go anywhere because you can't drive. Add on some time when I couldn't work due to still awaiting a work permit and we may have some people losing their minds. Maybe I did a little.
No, it doesn't end there. Throw in some teaching exams which always make me nervous and the never ending paperwork required for visa applications, work permits, and who knows what else. No doubt there are millions of people with a lot worse on their plate, and I constantly remind myself of this, but these are some of my little life's stresses, and I have to deal with them.
Well, a few weeks ago I can happily say I found a job. Since then, I've just been anticipating the start date: 6th August. So next week. I really and truly can not wait. Yes, I'm nervous, but I'm also so excited to enter this new phase of my career. What's more, yesterday I passed my driving test, after some previous flaws. We drove all the way to south Fort Worth, which is about an hour's driving away, just for a 20 minute test. Yes, I was incredibly nervous; just one mistake and I could fail. Luckily, it didn't happen, and I can now drive to Walmart alone. A pretty mundane task for most of you, but it means independence for me, even freedom.
The exams are still ongoing, as is the paperwork, but a new phase is about to be entered in my little life: a new job to which I can get to on my own in a car. It's Tim's old car by the way, and we named her Black Beauty.
Times are always changing. New tasks come along with new challenges, and new doors open with new opportunities. We may prepare and plan for months, even years to guarantee our future, but really we never know what is going to happen; anything could, and does, happen. I could never have known I would end up in the job I am about to start, the challenges I am about to face, know in which direction my future interests will flow. I can take a guess, but I don't know. We are affected by so many little factors which steer our lives, our interests and desires, that we really don't know what's to come.
That's why the here and now is so important. We may be overloaded with paperwork today, but embrace it; tomorrow we may not have a job. Today we may have a free day, so use it wisely, we may not get another one for months. That book which really doesn't seem your cup of tea just may lead you to somewhere you have never been.
Our lives are constantly filled with challenges. We thrive off them and they make us stronger. They open doors and let out lives enter new phases. Yet they are our torture. They push us a little bit more than we think we can manage, but we can do it, if we focus. We just don't know what's waiting around the corner. After joining the gym just under a year ago I didn't know that I would benefit so much from yoga. Today I still have much to learn and much to practise, but I am focused on improving little by little. The poses Crow, Half Crow and Firefly are within my grasp and I would have never believed it. Then Tabata Training came along and I never thought my body could pound out so much energy in just half an hour. Not to mention CrossFit, which is a challenge for even the toughies. New interests and opportunities some along all the time. The same goes for my career. I still have much to learn and improve, but I see direction and possibility. However, saying all this, I really do know that it all could change in the blink of an eye, and it is so important to appreciate each moment as it comes, and be prepared to adapt to the future as it comes along.
Yes, our effort has a big impact on our future; hard work and dedication pays off. You can see it at the Olympics, but then some other star athlete could come along and steal your glory. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't try, that we shouldn't fill our lives with little challenges and goals, but we should just accept what comes and what life throws at us. Embrace even the negatives, as we learn so much from them and they can only make us stronger.