I had a chance to catch up with a high school friend yesterday. What started as a few random texts and an accidental butt-dial turned into an hour-long conversation catching up on major life events and commiserating about the challenges of adult life. At one point she commented on how nice it was that, even though we haven’t talked in years, we could still be on the same page and vent about similar topics. The mark of a true friendship, right?
(For instance, here’s one complaint we had in common: Unless she brings up the topic first, please don’t ever ask a married-but-childless woman if/when she’s planning on having kids. While the question seems innocent enough, the answer is often far too private and intimate for casual conversation. It opens the door to personal, financial, and medical issues – all of which are emotionally charged topics. After fielding that question for seven years myself, I more than understand my friend’s frustrations. Dear world, unless we broach the topic first, please stop putting us through those awkward conversations! OK, sidebar rant complete.)
After we finished comparing stories of uncomfortable conversations about family plans, the topic shifted to the working world. Keep reading!
Through circumstances that can only be considered coincidence, I’ve found myself reading a lot about the educational situation in Pakistan lately. OK, I’ve read two books related to the topic, which isn’t a lot, but enough to get me thinking – especially since I never really set out to learn about it in the first place.
First I read I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai, because I was curious about the 17-year-old girl who became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Talk about remarkable teenagers, right?? Now I’m reading Three Cups of Tea by David Oliver Relin. My mom gave me the book because she liked it, but it ended up in storage before I got a chance to read it. After unpacking our book boxes, I’m finally able to catch up on things like this. Relin tells the story of Greg Mortenson, an adventurous mountain climber who accidentally stumbled on the needs of the children in the remote Pakistani villages. Through sheer dedication and determination, he has gone on to build several schools in Pakistan.
This is what our “nursery” looked like for a long time. We’re slowly chipping away at it. (Photo credit: wikimedia commons).
Now that we’re settled in a more permanent place, I have the task of sorting through all those boxes that have been collecting in storage over the years. The basic home-living type boxes were unpacked early and quickly. Those were fun to open – discovering items I’d forgotten that we own, since we hadn’t used them in so many years. I opened one box and discovered a set of bowls that I’d been missing ever since we moved to Boston. We found Nerf guns, stuffed animals, camping supplies, renaissance faire costumes… all that we hadn’t used in years. It was like Christmas!
Next we purchased some bookshelves off Craigslist and unpacked our many boxes of books. There were less surprises in those boxes, but it was nice to once again be able to see what we own and arrange them on our shelves, instead of keeping it all in storage.
A friend recently sent me a book recommendation with the comment that she thought of me when she read it because she knew I had “a passion for intentional adulthood.” I don’t think I’ve ever used that exact term before, but it is a good description. Growing up doesn’t just happen. Careers, education, and success don’t accidentally appear in someone’s life – at some point people need to act, choose, and pursue the kind of lives they want. Those words all imply intentionality. Yes, opportunities come unexpectedly, and new interests surprise us sometimes, but only if we’re out living life instead of sitting back waiting for it to happen.
Passive education doesn’t even look realistic. (Image credit: Wikipedia)
For students, this means engaging in active learning and taking personal responsibility in their education and maturation. For adults, this means pursuing a goal with purpose. We can and should be intentional in our careers, communities, and families. Make the decision to achieve something, and then take the steps necessary to make it happen.
However, the problem with intentional living is that we can’t do it in a vacuum. We live among other people, and what they do impacts our lives, too. What happens when life isn’t all smooth sailing? Keep reading!
I had my 21 week anatomy scan last week, and in the midst of measuring bone lengths, checking for all the heart chambers, and telling us that we’re having a girl (yay!), the tech managed to snap some excellent 3D images. One in particular turned out absolutely gorgeous. I love it. The details of her little nose, mouth, and cheeks are so clearly her and not just some generic baby. I can’t stop looking at it. It’s my baby, in 3D and color. Absolutely breathtaking.
I almost included the photo in this post as part of my gender reveal here.
Then I went back and deleted it from the draft, replacing it with the nice stock photo seen above. Here’s why:
We live in a world that thrives on media hype. Forget the details and facts. Forget context, background, and objectivity. Forget innocent until proven guilty. Instead, a video/picture/tweet of something offensive goes out and becomes viral, and suddenly the public at large decides it’s time to voice its outrage.
I’m going to try to write this post without sparking debate on any one specific current event. Is that possible? I’m not sure. I want to discuss not the right and wrong of individual incidents, but the overall phenomenon of viral anger.
What gets me about it is that people’s lives are affected (ranging from inconvenienced to completely ruined, depending on the level of the media-based outrage) because the public decides they should be – and in some cases, the public is wrong! Check out this article about a waitress who claimed she didn’t receive a tip because she’s gay. If you have the stomach for it, scroll down and read the comments, all negative and often profane, all passing sweeping judgments on conservatives in America. When the story broke, the waitress received donations of financial support from complete strangers, while those same strangers hurled venomous hatred towards the supposedly offending family.
Sometimes waiting makes things seem so far away
It’s amazing how much time we spend in life waiting. I’ve waited for jobs, for apartments, and for answers that never came. I’ve waited for phone calls, for a student to finally get it, and for things to finally settle down.
Right now I’m waiting for the ultrasound that will tell me my baby’s gender and for the months to pass until I’ll get to meet him or her. I’m waiting for the first phone call asking me to sub this year, and in the long run, I’m waiting to find out what God has in store for my career.
You’d think we’d get used to it, all this waiting. You’d think that we’d finally understand that anxiety doesn’t make the waiting easier, that patience is (usually) rewarded, and no matter how much or how little we wonder about and anticipate things, what will happen will happen.
I’m really bothered by social media based activism. When did we as a culture decide we needed fads to inspire us to give?
I’ve had this topic sitting in my mind for a while. I wanted to pick a good time to post it – not in the middle of any frenzy where it could be taken as a knee-jerk reaction to any one trend, but still close enough for those examples to be fresh in our minds. As we come off the hype of the ice bucket challenge, I think now is a good time.
I’ll begin by saying that while I did not participate in the challenge myself (no one nominated me, thank goodness), my husband did. He did it for a lot of the same reasons other people did – someone nominated him, and he figured it wasn’t a bad thing to do. It became the topic of a lot of real-life conversations in the days that followed, though – how he was going to handle the financial aspect of the challenge, who he’d give the money to, and the involuntary aspect of being “nominated to give”.
I’ve dropped a lot of hints that things are changing in my life, and I’ve wrestled a lot with how and when to make this announcement online. In the end, the best way is to just come out and say it.
(OK, deep breath…)
If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m pregnant, due February 3rd.
We found out at the end of May, soon after Dan landed his job, while I was still wrapping up finals at my last teaching job. Friends and family have known for a while, but we’ve decided to forego the big “Facebook announcement.” It seems like such a personal thing to publicly announce to hundreds of people, most of whom I never speak to in real life. And yes, I see the irony of saying that on my blog, but I kind of have to announce it here. After all, I write about my life, and this changes everything. Plus, you’ve made an investment in my life just by spending time on this blog. In my mind, that’s more significant than just clicking “like” on a Facebook post. (So if you are Facebook friends with me, can we keep this news off there a little longer, please? Thanks!)
It’s taken me a while to figure out that “back-to-school” time does bring changes for me this year, despite my lack of employment. Initially, I watched the hype unfold with a sense of detachment. I walked past sale racks of notebooks and pens without feeling the urge to walk through and pick out fun new stuff. My friends went to their meetings, posted pictures of classrooms on Facebook, and even asked my advice on curriculum, but none of it seemed to really apply to me. It wasn’t until I drove past a school building and saw kids and parents streaming in and out of it that I was jolted into reality.
My plan is to sub this year. It’s my fallback when I don’t have other consistent employment, and all-in-all, I don’t hate it. It gets me into the classroom, spending time with teenagers, using the skills that make me good at what I do. Sometimes it leads to connections and more long-term work, too. And of course, subbing leads to stories that make good blog posts. 🙂