November 9, 2009

Feeling Contemplative

For the life of me I could not sleep last night. (Probably because I lounged around all weekend trying to recover from NYC...) But still! I think part of the problem is I have been feeling quite contemplative lately...about basically everything in my life. Since my thoughts were random in and out of trying to fall asleep, I will try to capture some things with bullet points.
  • Even if I teach until I'm 80 how am I ever going to feel like I'm doing enough? There is so much for students to learn - about math & life & slope & love & graphing on a coordinate plane & relationships & how in the world am I going to fit it all in? I need these kids of mine to change the world - I need them to inspire one another (& inspire me!) to fix the mistakes of the past and continue some of the good things we already have going on. How am I helping them to do all that?
  • What about these students who just don't care one way or another? Are they happy in school? Do they absolutely dread each school day - and is there a better way to help them learn? When did the wonder & curiosity & joy of learning leave them? And how in the world do I get it back???
  • The world is a big place. On a daily basis I hear about, read about, or think about new places I want to see. (Teaching with other teachers who love to travel doesn't really help this...) How am I going to ever feel like I have seen everything I could or want to? Who am I going to go on all these adventures with? Just a few places I am dying to see/visit: Boston, Australia/New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, Spain, California, Seattle, Colorado, every MLB stadium, etc. (yes I will see a game in Yankee Stadium even if it kills my soul...)
  • On the subject of travel: there is nothing like perusing a guide book of a new country to make you realize you haven't even see the majority of your own country. I think I need to spend at least two weeks road tripping across the United States. This needs to happen within the next year. Next question: do I go east or west from Minnesota?
  • In two years (yeah, yeah, I know it's still a long time from now...but these last 3 months have felt like 3 days!) will I be ready to move back to Minnesota? Can I handle packing up and starting somewhere new and starting over? Will I want to stay another year in Colombia? If I move back to Minnesota will I be so elated to be back with my family and friends that moving to any other place would seem silly?
  • AND if I'm not back in Minnesota in two years, but instead somewhere else, at what point will the life I had there cease to exist as I remember it? In 2 - 3 years will I be the girl who has these awesome stories & adventures, but ends up at all my friends' weddings & baby showers & grad school graduations alone?
Whew! Told you there was a lot! In conclusion we will see where life takes me, I guess... Finally, I leave you with some life inspiration from today's email correspondence with my father:

There is no path to peace; peace is the path. -Ghandi


Jenny & Justin said...

Check Australia off your list this year - come visit me. Seriously. :)

Nicole said...

And welcome to your very own Quarter Life Crisis stage! I go through thoughts like this all the time and they fade in and out of my daily routine. Some days it gets better and I feel like I am doing what feels right for me and others its worse and I feel like i am a traveling nomad makihg no progress. I will say that in the grand scheme of things you are probably doing just fine! Its easy to get caught up in the little things and not realize what a really great thing you are already doing by living in another country and helping these children in ways that you will never know!

PS: who is Jenny and how do we not know eachother??

Anonymous said...

I have the same quarter-life crisis going on, but in reverse...I love my life in Minnesota and I'm so comfortable and happy here. But will I regret not moving somewhere else, even for a little while, to have the experience of living in a new city and being totally on my own? Or am I just being crazy and if I'm happy where I'm at, why change it "just in case"?

Kristin said...

Wow! The responses I have received from this via blogger, Facebook, and email make me realize I am apparently not the only one who stays up at night trying to figure out what I'm doing! Thanks for the words of wisdom everyone :)

Ilse said...


I wrestle with these same thoughts daily too. Seeing the world, making a difference...there seems to be almost too many things to do! I do hope you know that you ARE making a profound impact on these kids lives just by being the wonderful math teacher and mentor that you are. You are doing so much--- it can sometimes be a terrible mind trap to always wonder what ELSE you can do to help the world. You are doing it already every day, and I have no doubt that you will continue to in the future.

When you come home, whenever you do, things may be different, but you will still mean the world to your friends:)

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