Spontaneous, Illogical Opportunities

I was on Facebook today and an advertisement popped up. It was for an agency that hires people to teach English to kids in France. You’d live in France (obviously) and work as a teacher/ nanny for one or several families. You’d stay for at least 4 months.

I checked out the website, looked over some testimonials, and overall decided that this would be an incredible opportunity… But not for me.

So far away… In a country I’ve never been to (except for 3 days on a trip)… Amongst people that speak a language that I don’t speak… My parents would never approve… It would never fit in with my studies…

Blah blah blah.

??????!!!!!!

When did I start thinking this way? Or have I always had this terrible defeatist attitude?

I’m 19, and I’m talking as though I’m working 4 jobs to support my family of 15!

My parents have always encouraged me to follow the plan:

1)      Do University

2)      Get a job. I.e. Get a job as a teacher.

I’ve had a problem with the plan before. Even though I honestly enjoy it, I’m not sure teaching would be the right fit for me. Mostly because I don’t like the idea of watching children grow and move on while I have to stay and teach the next bunch the same information. I fear I’d get jealous of the kids’ progress, and wouldn’t be able to give each new student the patience they require.

So instead I was thinking of continuing my education past a bachelor’s degree. Ideally I think I’d like to be a math professor, but I’m not sure if I’m smart enough for that/ if that’s realistic. Being a prof. would be great because I could continue my own learning while passing on my knowledge to others.

Recently though, I’ve been wondering if I could push the boundaries of the plan even further. I had the opportunity to do research with a really cool math prof. this summer. It would have been the next logical step in the pursuit of a career in mathematics.

But… This other job came up… Nothing to do with math… Nothing to do with the plan. It involved traveling, learning, and working with kids. I felt so guilty… But I took this job instead of the math research.

I felt guilty because my parents weren’t very supportive, and it didn’t fit into the carefully constructed plan that was my future. And that’s when I got thinking… Why is it that I feel guilty about going outside of my comfort zone? When did I start limiting myself in what I could and couldn’t do with my life? And who says that they only way to go is the conventional academic way?

So I did take this job, and I’ll be traveling as tour guide to Ottawa on grade 7-8 educational trips. I’m scared as hell about where this unplanned detour in my life will take me. But I’m really proud that I did decide to take it.

We’ll see how/if this France teaching opportunity plans out. But I think what I can take from this whole “future” discussion is that I should allow myself to experience the spontaneous, unplanned and illogical opportunities in life, before I settle down and they become few and far between.

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