Monday, March 15, 2010

Graduation

Today is graduation day. My 3rd year students (9th graders) are leaving. They've done well. I'm proud of them. It's difficult to be responsible for your own future. Many of them still don't understand exactly what that means, and are just going on to the next step, the next place. They don't know that they can go anywhere they want to go or do anything they want to do. They are so many things to see. I wonder what they will see.

Of course, they will go places I will never go. They will do things I will never do. And yet, our lives will be the same. We will all be people and we're the same.

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if I didn't want to live abroad. If I didn't have any interest in foreign language. If all I wanted was the house the kids and the husband. An office job and a dog. I'll never know. Because although those things are nice, I want something different.

Before I felt sad for my friends and other people I knew who were 'trapped' in that life. I thought that they were just as upset as I was when I lived that life. Eventually I realized that they didn't feel that way. They might not like everything about their lives, but overall, they liked it. I tried to be happy with that life, and I failed. All I wanted was to come here. And any commitment that could interfere with that wish made me uncontrollably sad, and I ran away from it.

So now I don't feel sorry for my friends back home, and I don't feel sorry for my students and the lives they will have. Even if they work at a gas station or someplace I would find inadequate, perhaps they like it. Or perhaps it allows them the life they want. Or maybe it's just a stop on their way someplace else.

In the past few months, I've come to some peace with myself and my life. I am who I am. I can't be anyone else. Sometimes I might wish I could see life from someone else's perspective. I think it would be interesting. Especially to be at ease in places that I feel uncomfortable in in my life. Or to be a part of a group I was never a part of.

Deborah used to tell me that just because I'm choosing one thing, doesn't mean that I need to feel like I'm missing out. If I choose to do something, it doesn't mean there is something better happening and I'm excluding myself from it. I used to always be upset that I couldn't do everything I wanted every day. Now I realize it just means I can be happy everyday, no matter what I choose to do.

I know that although I could have done different things with the students, I impacted them. I can see it. I also received a letter from a student. She asked me not to let anyone else read it. I promised I wouldn't. She's not the best at English. But she just shines. I know that I connected with her. I know that for the rest of her life, she won't be the same person. And I know how special she is. I hope she continues to be the beautiful person I see. There are many fun and funny students in my classes. She was always a bit quiet. Didn't raise her hand much, didn't join the English speech contest. But I would have to say she is my favorite student. We connected in a profound way. I'll never forget her. I'll always think of her. I'll always wonder where she is and what she's doing. I'll always be proud of her.

It's really true what they say in the landmark advanced course. You have a possibility. Great. Good for you. But where the real power is, is sharing that possibility; is having someone else get it too. If there's nothing happening over there [with the other person] then it's just you. The real power is in inspiring others.

And so I'm sad to see my students go. But I'm so excited at the same time. I can't wait for them to leave. Whether they know it or not, or want to or not, they'll take the rest of us with them.

1 comment:

Audrey said...

Very well said, Kate! As one of the husband, dog, office job contingent this was definitely meaningful to me. I'm not nearly the risk taker that you are but I am determined to try new things in order to keep things interesting and to never give up on my dreams. Have you seen the movie Up? It is so touching but the saddest part of all is that the wife of the old man never visits South America before she dies even though it was her lifelong dream. Her husband finally wakes up one day and realizes what a tragedy that is so he proceeds to rig his house up with balloons and fly there. I just adore that movie. It contains such profound lessons about life. Just like your blog...