Stumbling

“This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find … themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. … they mean to develop intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.

Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.

Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe … life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.”

– Relevant magazine.

I came across this little excerpt from a friend’s Facebook wall post that somewhat spoke to me. Well, it seems to speak to a lot of people my age, it is a kind of medicine or drug for a person at his or her quarter mark of life. So what have I achieved so far? Am I proud and content with the person I am?

hmmm. 

Let’s just say there are many things about me that could be better. I could be more disciplined regarding my diet and exercise, that would probably have prevented myself from turning into the overweight elephantess I am today. I could be more proactive regarding the way I studied and work – took more initiative, asked more intelligent questions, put myself in places which would bring the opportunities towards me, dared to make silly mistakes to learn from it. But most of the time, I was more concerned keeping myself safe and staying out of the radar, and out of trouble. Perhaps if I had been more reflective as an educator, I would not have so many failed lessons and broken hearts. When I met the parents of some of my students at the session on Saturday, I truly felt the limitations of a teacher. How much can we help and support your child? As much as we really want the best for him/her, if the parent at home is struggling to deal with his/her adolescence, we are too. It really requires a lot more wisdom to encourage the students and answer to the parents.

But that being said, hoshao is not a lost cause. Because every weekend after a week of ups and downs, I know as I sit in front of the computer preparing my lessons for the coming day or week, that I am not a quitter, and I am not running away. In fact, every week as I think of that particular class and cringe because I can never predict how well (or badly) it will go, I know it is me taking another step forward and being less and less afraid of what is distasteful that may lie ahead. I think teachers are brave people, for that very reason. We do not know how to best work things out for our kids, neither do we know how to solve every single case or misunderstanding, we cannot heal every single soul, and we may get into a lot of trouble for being human and imperfect. But ultimately, we are brave, and we are heroes of our own game, because we keep pressing on. If we cannot yet find a way to build fire-proof buildings, at least we are willing to fight the fires head on when one comes. Kudos to ourselves for that at least!

So this week as the examinations draw nearer, I know that I can only commit my kids and my lessons to the Lord. With the limited amount of time and resources, it is impossible for us to try and play god. We do however, have a God to depend on.