What do you want to be when you grow up?


As an aside to this entire post… I should mention that if you are blogging while on a MacBook, save frequently.  I just swiped my trackpad and lost half of this post, and so now I’m in rewrite mode.  If it’s not that great…. that’s why.

It’s 11 pm on a Sunday night.  The weekend is gone.  And what a whirlwind of one it was.  I got my classroom on Friday, I spent 6 hours at the school yesterday rearranging, unpacking boxes, organizing, filing, sorting…. I am so very thankful at this point that as much as it was a disappointment in August, it was such a blessing not to get my classroom until after I was settled nicely into the house.

The dog has been out and is now chilling beside me, the garbage and recycling are out (including all 13 lawn bags full of leaves thanks to my 3 giant trees in the backyard), hardboiled eggs are boiled so I have lunches until Wednesday…. all my grown-up responsibilities before Monday morning hits are fulfilled… I want to be reading, but this post has been on my mind since Friday morning, and I know that I’m at a point where if I don’t get it out, I likely won’t sleep well.  Writer’s curse, maybe?  Funny that the writer in me is making me ignore the reader in me and I likely won’t get to my massive (and growing) stack of books tonight…

On Thursday at Bible Study we were asked to write down 3 things that we’re good at, and 3 things that we’re not in our study guides.  We’re working our way through Chip Ingram’s Living on the Edge:  Dare to Experience True Spirituality, which is an expositional walk-through of Romans 12.  It’s been a challenging book for me lately.  Especially last week’s read, but I found out when I got to Bible Study on Thursday evening that I’m 5 weeks ahead in the reading… no wonder it felt like so much reading every week.

Anyway, three things…

I had a little trouble thinking of things I’m good at.  It’ll coincide nicely with one of the things I’m not.

My first one didn’t surprise me though, really…. Talking to people/explaining things.  It’s a helpful strength when one endeavours to teach a foreign language to elementary school children.

My second came fairly quickly, as well… singing.  I sing a lot.  I sing myself hoarse sometimes.  Music is the language of my soul.  Someone else’s lyrics always seem to match my situation so clearly, no matter what it is.  I’ll sing in front of people, in the car, doing the dishes, it doesn’t matter really.

The third, though… I sat and couldn’t really think of one.  Started to chide myself a bit too… that’s it?  That’s all you’re good at?  Explaining things and singing?  Nice.

I came up with a loooong list in my head of things I know I’m not good at.  But we were told to be prepared to share one of each out, and so I kept them simple…. but my first thought was “say them out loud?  This would be much better if I could just write them down… preferably in my blog… send everyone the link, and be done with it.  I don’t want to tell people what I’m not good at, even though they likely already know… and even though everyone’s got things they aren’t good at…”  My inner dialogue, folks… there you have it.  So I went back to the “I’m good at” section, and added writing.  I don’t know why it didn’t come to me sooner… I’ve often contemplated quitting my job and becoming a writer, haha… but I can’t pay my bills on it.  In fact, I wanted to be a writer for years before I decided that I should teach French.  I wrote books as a child… I wrote for fun.  Well, I attempted to write books.  My biggest accomplishment was getting 150 pages into a not-so-loosely X-Files based science-fiction novel at the age of 12… but when you can recognize even at 12 that your plot is spinning in circles and losing steam rapidly, and you have nowhere left to go without backtracking and rewriting… it’s probably time to quit.  I think I still have my many attempts at book writing kicking around somewhere, I’ve refused to get rid of them for nostalgia’s sake every other time I’ve moved, so I can’t imagine this time would be any different.

Here are the things I’m not good at:

1.  Self Esteem.  This week’s whole theme was ‘how to come to grips with the real you’ and when I’m totally honest with myself I have to say that I don’t like me that much, on the whole.  I have good days, sure, but there are many where I look in the mirror and just shake my head and walk away.  Maybe I can blame my bullies… in elementary school, in high school, in university, in teacher’s college, even… or maybe I can blame myself for not being able to see myself through God’s eyes.  God doesn’t make losers, after all.  But that was  a hard one to admit in front of 14 other people… they may see it in me, but it was hard to come out and say “I don’t really like myself”, and even harder to admit that our challenge for this week, to look into the mirror and tell myself that I am uniquely significant, eternally valuable, and unconditionally accepted… would be very hard for me to do.  I still haven’t managed.

2.  Time Management.  heh.  I learned quickly growing up that I’m pretty smart.  What that ended up looking like for me was homework that got finished on the bus ride into the school, or in front of my locker before the bell rang, or in the class before… and I got mediocre marks to show for it, acceptable marks, mid 70s to low 80s.  With very little effort.  I learned pretty young that I didn’t need to put much effort into academics to be successful (though I regret that, because with some effort, there would have been endless scholarship opportunities which would have reduced my debt load at the end of 5 years of university, and I would have gotten into the teacher’s college I wanted…. but I can’t redo it, so no sense dwelling).  When you don’t need to put in much time or effort to be successful, it teaches you quickly that you don’t need to start anything early… why bother when you can do well the day before?  So if you need me to do something for you, I suggest you give me a deadline… as I work much better under the pressure that comes with not being done hours before a deadline.  That’s when I write and think my best, some of my best papers were written between the hours of 11 pm and 6 am.  Consecutively.  That’s all well and good, until you have three papers due in one day… or an entire set of report cards.  My name is Laura, and I’m a procrastinator.

3.  Self Control.  I wrote this down specifically with regard to materialism and food.  I’ve talked about all of those things before, I don’t need to again.

It just struck me so funny that I was able to come up with a list… and a long one, at that… of things I’m not good at, and that I couldn’t even remember while trying to think of some things that I AM good at that I’m a good writer.  I suppose we can attribute that to my aforementioned slightly too low self-esteem :p

Something else that hit me on Thursday night was the following question:  “If neither time nor money were an object, what would do you?”  My gut reaction was to open a school that I would run where anyone could attend but that there would be a high standard for behaviour and if you couldn’t measure up after whatever our progressive plan was, you’d be gone.  It made me smile that what I chose was directly related to what I’m doing, and that I didn’t even give myself time to think myself out of it.  I’d have thought that there would be many other things I’d do first if time and money became no object.  I would have thought… Go back to school to be a meteorologist (and hire the private tutor necessary to get me through the physics, if it’d even be possible).  Be a writer.  Be an editor.  Open or curate a museum.  Go back to school to be a photographer.  I have passions that I thought all would have won out over the career that sometimes drives me nuts.  But… it’s quite nice to know that my gut reaction and my instinct is still to teach kids.  Notice though, that it wasn’t “stay in the public education system and continue to do what I’m doing right now.”  :p

I’ve wanted to be many things growing up:  A doctor, a meteorologist, more specifically… a tornado chaser, a fighter pilot (no one told me you needed to understand math and physics to be a meteorologist or a pilot… and no one told me you needed good vision to be a fighter pilot… and also…. I hate flying.  Good thing I didn’t become a fighter pilot.  What kind of 9 year old girl who’s never been in an airplane before aspires to be a fighter pilot??? Yeah… I was THAT kid.  No wonder I was bullied :P)  I wanted to be a lawyer.  I wanted to be a journalist…. and not just the columnist kind… the kind that storms the front lines of conflict and reports back with an edge to her writing and exposes what’s REALLY going on…. you know, the kind that gets killed in the movies for what they know.  I wanted to curate a museum.  I wanted to teach French.  I wanted to teach History.  I wanted to be a photographer (6 weeks into the beginning of my career as a French teacher, might I add ;))  I think it’s funny how God puts us where our passions are even sometimes unbeknownst to us.  I’ve known for a long time that this is what I wanted to do, I just never would have pegged it as what I’d do if I had no restrictions.

So there are my thoughts for a rainy Sunday night.  I’m going to go huddle into bed with a book and pretend that there isn’t a hurricane headed for my house…. well, ok… what’ll be left of one by the time it hits here tomorrow night……. aka lots of drizzly icky rain and some higher-than-average wind speeds.  And I’m going to pretend I don’t have to get up for work in the morning.  As a completely unrelated side note… I’m really glad the time changes next weekend, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to wake up in the dark, and I don’t like it.

Also unrelated to this post… went back to my old church this morning.  Felt like going home.  I should never have left, but I’m back with a new understanding of my purpose for being there, and I’m so thankful for all the welcoming arms that met me with hugs this morning.

The end.

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