Personal / Reflections

Of life purposes, failures and adjustments

I have a purpose in life.

I know exactly what I want and what makes me happy and alive. And this hasn’t changed since I was a little girl. All I’ve always wanted was to be a teacher. And I did everything it took to succeed. However, my teachers at school, my parents, my friends from primary school never encouraged me at all. Probably to protect me from the failure, because they all know my shyness. Even recently, after almost 10 years teaching, my parents and those friends don’t understand my choice.

They don’t understand how I put myself in the middle of a 15 / 20 people group as the centre of attention, whereas I struggle so much in a reunion with few friends. So I explain them that it’s what I love to do. The most important thing in my life. And if I have to panic every day the five minutes before I start my class, I’d still choose this job. However, they keep advising me to do an easier job. But they don’t experience the rush I feel during the class and after, how I enjoy spending hours and hours preparing a class that could be prepared in 30 minutes. So if I have to endure this public speaking panic in order to keep that feeling and have a successful class, I’ll do it.

My biggest dream

My biggest dream has always been being a Spanish literature teacher in the University, so in order to achieve that, I started a PhD 6 years ago. However, I’ve been wandering a lot these 6 years. I enjoyed doing the research, but I often found myself overwhelmed with the work, struggling to write good stuff. I’ve always considered my work quite mediocre. I don’t know if I wasn’t motivated enough, or I let myself be beaten by the resistance, or I just had other things in my mind that were more important. If I’m honest with you, I never gave enough because I wasn’t committed enough. But I started it, so I had to finish it. I wouldn’t have felt proud of myself if I had quitted. So I finished it.

I wasn’t cut for it

But yesterday, the person I owe being a doctor soon and who I trust 100%, my supervisor, told me that I’m not cut to be a researcher, that I have to be aware of my limitations and forget about the path that would have led me to teach at the University. I’m not good enough. Those words broke my heart in little pieces. Even though I knew it. I knew I wasn’t a good researcher, mainly because I wasn’t committed enough. As much as I enjoy writing and reading, I rather spend my time doing other things. But it was hard to hear that the work of 6 years wasn’t going to help in achieving my dream. Ok, that is not the end of the world. I still can do what I love and find another path. But I was still devastated. Was it a waste of time?

The positive outcome

I’ve thought a lot these couple of days and I finally see the positive outcome of all this.
  • During these 6 years of thesis, I was able to learn an awful lot about theatre and literature (it might not be enough for the academic world, but is good for me).
  • I got to know very interesting people in the way. I met in person the authors of those books I read and that amazed me by the knowledge they displayed.
  • This work, my thesis, is going to put my name out there. I might not get a reward from it, but is still a good work that is going to last. Is going to be read by students, who will learn from it, by theatre lovers, who will get perspectives,  and by other researchers, who will study it and criticize it, supporting or detracting my ideas.
  • I understood that if I wanted to continue with this career, I had to work my ass off to stick out of this mediocre / not good enough level I am now.
  • I still have reasons to be proud of myself, because I kept my word, I finished what I started. I might have not invested 8 hours a day to do research and not finished in 3 years, but I got to live, to do what I wanted, to loose my path and find it again, to experience, to learn, to suffer and to enjoy instead. No regrets.

I’ve been on a long journey of do, adjust, try new things, to create a work life meaningful and satisfying. Somehow just being on the journey with intention, courage, and commitment feels like a big success, even if I failed in some things.

Some people would say that I’ve been wandering around: first it was a thesis, then French teacher, then English teacher, now Spanish teacher… But for me it’s about jumping in, exploring, paying attention to how I feel, and then making changes if necessary. Some of those changes will be little adjustments, other might be life decisions.

What matters is that we do. That we’re honest with ourselves about what we want, take steps to do it, and then have the courage to change courses if and when it feels right.

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