Monthly Archives: November 2014

My Life Has Meaning…Does Yours?

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I recently shared some quality one-on-one time with my sister. She admitted to me that I had said some things to her of late that she found offensive. I asked her what it was that I had said that she found insulting. She brought up an incident where I had tried to talk her into traveling with her kids as a way of using the globe as a classroom. She felt I had not listened to her as she had repeatedly told me that she wanted to be near medical facilities due to the limitations of one of her children. I apologized for not listening and gave her a code word to tell me to shut up and listen, but deep down I knew that I had brought up the idea because I was fantasizing about having  (a) travel companion(s).

On Thanksgiving, my father seemed a bit concerned about my intentions to travel throughout 2015 and he recalled a generation when life goals were as simple as just getting married and raising children.

Later, my mother made some comments to me about how my sister was wasting her life raising kids instead of having gone to school and having the opportunity to travel the way I have now. I told her that the kids gave her life meaning and that she would be very angry to hear my mother speak so. My mother replied that this was just between she and I and that my life of travel has meaning too. I was struck by this comment because sometimes I feel guilty about how many pleasurable experiences I have in my life and what little suffering I have in my life. Surely, a life raising children, feeding the homeless and whatnot is more valuable than the life of pleasure I live…? Then, it occurred to me that my mother is right…My life has meaning even if I don’t have children.

Each life has its value. Though the experiences each individual may choose to fill each moment varies, each choice is an expression of love for life. Each day, we wake up and fill our plate with a diverse palette of experience to express our love. My life has meaning because I have joie de virve, just as a mother watching her children smile 400 times per day (Did you know children smile over 400 times per day but adults smile less than 20 times per day?) possesses vitality and appreciation because the purpose of life is to express love in so many distinct means!

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Different Values

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It’s interesting. A couple of my housemates keep trying to talk me into changing careers. They tell me that teaching makes beans and isn’t worth the effort. I find it interesting that people can have such differing takes: In my family teaching is a good job and the average house in my hometown costs around $200,000, but in the neighborhood I now live, $400,000 is a bargain home. The smaller homes around here cost $600,000 to $700,000 and people drive around Porsches because it is a status symbol. And apparently, teachers make beans…The job is not worth the effort. Teaching may not be a worthwhile job to them, but it is to me. You don’t make a lot but you don’t make minimum wage either. I think it is fair. I want to work in a field I enjoy, not one where the money is the goal. Perhaps that makes me narrow-minded and lazy as it is a lot more tiring to do work you don’t enjoy. I know myself and I know I don’t have the energy to do something I don’t love. Maybe if I had a family to support, I’d muster up the energy, but teachers are pretty capable of supporting a family with a little saving so at the moment, a career change seems completely unnecessary.

My Vacation from the Rat Race

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It’s happening! Yesterday I talked to my landlady about my travel plans. Next week, I’ll be out of state on a roadtrip with some of my besties. I am moving out of my rental in the next month or two. Then, I’ll finish my exams for my third teaching credential. I am planning to spend my winter months in 2015 in Costa Rica. I’ ve picked out a city and a rainforest I want to stay at during my time there. In spring, I have a trip to Thailand and Cambodia as well as a cross country trip to and from New Orleans! I’ll be back in time to do applications and job interviews for summer and fall….Wonder if my volunteer gig will still be open… I am truly looking forward to the rest of 2014 and 2015! Life really is exciting as you want it to be!

What is your mindset?

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I am on my third week into an eight week methodology course. This week’s video shared by the professor was so interesting to me as both an educator working with kids and also made me reflect about my own mindset. Do I have a fixed or growth mindset? Unfortunately, over the past few years, I believe my mindset has become more and more fixed and I find myself learning less and less as I become more insecure. If a ten year old can be exuberant about failure, I believe so can I. It as this guy describes:  . I believe the American mindset in general is fixed. We, in general, encourage our kids to decide what they “want to be” from an early age and then to pursue it. I recently read a book titled The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner. It’s memoir/ travel journal/ happiness research book of sorts by an American writer who travels the world exploring the various cultures of happiness. He discovers that there are many paths to happiness. One of the places that really captured my attention was Iceland. In the book, he describes the typical Icelandic resume filled with very different jobs and careers and the Icelandic people as being happy and unafraid to fail. The Icelandic attitude is also described in this 2008 article: No wonder Iceland has the happiest people on earth. What mindset do you have? Is it a fixed or growth mindset? If it’s a growth mindset, what challenges have you recently enjoyed? If it’s a fixed mindset, do you intend to change? Why or why not?