A few days ago, I posted this image through my Instagram account. The infopic came to my mind as I was heading to a friend’s house before heading to Edcamp Chicago last Friday and saw a peak of the Sun through some clouds. I had just completed my proposal for my dissertation during lunch that day, all 70 pages of it. While the proposal isn’t going to my committee until the end of this week once edits are finished. It was for the first time in a while where I saw the light starting to appear in the tunnel. For the last five years, through unemployment, burn out, extra courses, family and health issues. It has seemed that I was on this endless road that never seemed to want to change or end. While during the last few years, I have seem a set of accomplishments, it has felt that I was more in an endless loop that never wanted to end. Basically: Hard times, then some good times, then hard times again, a few small victories, wash, rinse and repeat.
Yet, during my commute I did realize just how much I have learned and how far I have come in the last several years and that there was a huge new chapter on the horizon. My wife told me last night that while I have had to take so many extra courses for my state license and trying to get my PhD finished by next Spring. I have used what I have learned even if at times, it looked like extra work just so the state could get more money out of me. While, I have kicked myself several times over what lead me to these extra courses and other hard times. There comes a point where you just can’t beat yourself up anymore and have to accept and move on. Even when you have to be painfully reminded of those errors in judgment at the time.
Just last night I was going over my final project for my Reading Comprehension class and I realized the course I’m co-teaching this quarter lines up perfectly with what my objectives are for my students. It was so refreshing to feel that and know that there has been a reason for all of this. No matter how many people keep telling me, I have been wasting time and money. Because basically their opinion is: “Look at your bills and why you never do anything like us.” “You don’t make enough money, you waste it on bad decisions.” Yet, they quickly forget they made the same decisions and then what was a drain on their finances were cleared up, they found that enjoyment. In fact, those who say that don’t invite my family and I out to those outings because they feel they have to protect us since they have the money and time, and we don’t.
However, they are free of other burdens that I carry. Such as my wife’s epilepsy, her unemployment. Bad relationships and horrible managers that lead to our debt and missed opportunities that would have prevented a lot of our dark times. However, that is what life is, unpredictable. We face it every day and as we know, not every day is full of sunshine, there are dark times with the light and sadly, it seems the dark times last a lot longer. It’s rising and meeting those challenges that determine the course of your life. We all make mistakes and as the song goes: “Don’t remind me of my failures, I haven’t forgotten them.” “But they don’t define me.” Even now, I face a new road I never expected to happen and yet, here it is and I have to rise to meet not only the challenge, but also come out better as a result. Much like seeing that small light at the end of a long, dark tunnel, there is a new beginning about to begin and while I won’t see what is on the other side for a while. I know, it marks a new beginning and that what I have done and worked for is worth it.