reflection on mistakes and regrets

For a lazy person, I did a lot of work this semester. (The word “lazy” is a little imprecise; let’s say I’m an enthusiastic about chilling.) Teaching two classes I had never taught before, plus starting my Master’s degree, took an unsurprisingly large amount of time. I spent my time working on a topic I am passionate about, which helped the medicine go down with a spoonful of sugar.

Yesterday I reflected on how discouraged I was when I wasn’t accepted into the University of Minnesota Master’s program. It’s a great program, but the program I am in now is excellent as well. And relating my coursework to what I am actually doing in my job reinforces learning and makes it easier to do the work. I don’t know how I would have completed the U of M program with no teaching experience. I would have done it, but it would have been difficult.

He's FINE, guys.
He’s FINE, guys.

Some people live their lives saying they have no regrets. Others even say that there are no mistakes, just choices. Not me. I regret things. I make plenty of mistakes. Big ones, too. More than most, I bet. It’s OK. It’s OK to say that I wish I’d done certain things differently. It’s OK to say that I should have made other choices. Even though I’m simultaneously saying that my life is pretty good now and seems to be on track to be pretty good for the next 40 years or so. Another path would have probably been good, too.

My senior students are having a hard time with this, as many of us did in our early 20s. They want the best job possible. Of course they do. But I tell them, “If you don’t like your job, get another one.” Yes, it’s easier said than done, and quitting jobs all over town is not good, but the freedom to fail is liberating.

Free to fall, free to fly.

I feel really proud of what I did this semester. I am stating all of this very explicitly because there will come a day, perhaps soon, when I forget it all. Some sort of misstep will occur and it will insurmountable. I’ll worry that I messed it all up permanently. Trust, I am not saying this because I have it all figured out. I have it like 10% figured out. But living in a country where I don’t speak the language has taught me that you don’t have to know a lot of shit to do a lot of shit.

Tl;dr: I’m good, how are you?

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