By sombre 7 Comments
It's surely been a tumultuous time for all of us right? Between everything being the absolute worst, and arguably the worst year in recent memory, we've all been struggling. I know personally, I've been fighting to keep my head above water, but I'm just about getting there, due to some important people in my life.
I'm also coming to a new chapter in my life, which is partly the reason why I wanted to write today (And also cause I just need to get all my thoughts out there, written down). Soon, I'm hoping to move to Japan to teach English. It's been a lifelong dream of mine for...shit, since I was 21, so...ten years ago? I remember when I first head about the idea of it at the time- moving to the other side of the world to teach. At the time, I was just getting into education, infact, I was spending 2 days a week at a local school, just doing some voluntary work- reading and just chatting with the kids. I realized that...this is what I wanna do in my life. I spent the next ten years building a reputation and portfolio of being a respected, dedicated figure in education. I taught from the South of the country to the North, in incredibly privileged areas, and incredibly destitute and "wanting" areas. Anyway, back to teaching abroad.
I always wanted to do it, but I could never really bring myself to make that plunge I guess? I thought about applying with my partner at the time, when I was 22 and she was 21, and I'd just finished university. To cut a long story short, she cheated, and that dream fell through. For the next 8 years, I would find myself grinding out teaching and TA jobs all over the place. At that time, teaching abroad simply wasn't an option for me. I wasn't good enough. I think the downfall of the relationship had deeper impact that I gave it credit for, and it kinda ruined my self esteem for...man, I dunno, probably over half a decade. I quietly contemplated life as I just...got on with things. I guess I was kind of miserable, but I never let it show in front of my kids. I was always 100% on with them, dedicated, and dare I say it, a little inspirational. I know in the last ten years, I've impacted so many lives, and I've helped so many young people move to great things. I'd probably argue that I was put on earth to teach.
So, last year, I applied to the "JET Programme", an international program ran by the Japanese government, with the intention of deploying English speaking people all across Japan, with the intention of starting grassroot programs, and raising the level of English all over Japan. It was a thrilling prospect. I don't know what changed, but I was finally at one with myself, I guess. I knew I had it in me, and I knew I was ready to make this step. Bear in mind, at this time, I was 30, and I'd never left the UK before (I still haven't!!). I figured that if I was going into something...I was going in two feet first, off the deep end, with my eyes closed.
I guess with the pre-amble over, I can get into the real intention of writing today, and that's the concept of living through your past, and how much you look towards the future. Now, at the moment, I'm in two minds:
- The first one is my life now, as it stands, in the UK. I'm largely miserable at work, as it's clear my school views me as disposable and expendable. I almost walked out of work yesterday, as one of my co-workers said something incredibly upsetting at how I'm (and I'm paraphrasing) "Not working hard enough, and not making enough of an impact to justify the money, so we need to assess your impact to make sure you're doing things right". I've worked this job for about 6/7 years now, and I know that I make a marked difference every day. I work hard, I commit to the children, and I care about what I do for a living. So why suddenly am I personally being targeted for an "Assessment of impact"? Why is no other member of staff facing the same scrutiny? It feels very unfair, and when I heard that I've been picked out for potential cuts, I was pretty devastated, when I think about how much I've sacrificed for that school.
However, there's the other side of my life: My friends. Since signing up to teach abroad, I have met some amazing, incredible, wonderful people. I feel extremely close to a select few, and honestly, they make the day worth getting through, knowing I can talk to them, and commiserate with them after a hard day at work. This is where the dichotomy of my life is tugging at me. I guess I don't want these times to end. For the first time in my life, I've finally found a real group of friends I care about and love. Every day I get to spend time with them, and talk with them is a day that I really treasure, and I mean that. We laugh, we learn, we cry together- honestly, everything I want out of friends. However, this is where the fear of the future comes in.
- I worry about the future, I guess. Something I've come to hate, but begrudgingly accept as I've got older is how hard it is to just...spend in person, face to face with your friends. Whether it's the fact that your lives just...go in different directions, or you have a family, or you have a job, or you live on opposite ends of the country, or Earth...it's tough. My best friend from college and I spent many MANY years, just the two of us against the world, he's now moved to Toronto. I haven't seen him in over a year now, and to be honest, I might not see him for a very long time.
Nowadays, I've made some extremely close friends, who I don't think I will ever get rid of. You know when you just meet "your people" and you think "Yeah, these are the ones"? It's been that. I guess I worry that life will catch up to me. I know that two of my best friends at the moment, who I'll be going to Japan with eventually, I'll make every effort to stay in contact with them, every day, as often as I can. I'll make the effort to see them, as often as I can, and have as many amazing, shared experiences with them as I can. I can't wait to share this next step of my life with such wonderful, amazing people. I spoke to one of them last night about us all staying close, and we agreed that we're just "in each others lives" and there's "No getting rid of them", which really meant a lot to me.
How do you guys feel about the ever pressing issue of time and tide waiting for no man? How do you "carry the weight" of your collective pasts, and how much do you look towards a brighter tomorrow (Which we all have, no matter what's going on in our lives). How do you find the time to keep in with with those you care about that aren't family? I'd love to have a discussion about how you keep in touch with the ones you care about most, and what you're going to continue to do.