“Every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He is going to fight and he is going to lose. But what makes him a man is at the midst of that battle he does not lose himself. This game is not over, this battle is not over.”
I used to live my life in some sort of cinematic haze; trapped somewhere between the melodrama of say One Tree Hill and Friday Night Lights. For some reason, I pictured life as this fairy tale where, although I might face my share of obstacles, life would provide me with obstacles much like those characters I see on the screen (theatrical or domestic). I’ve always thought that once the initial pursuit of a desire has passed, each relationship, obstacle, dream, etc. will remain in this perpetual state of bliss. I lived a life of longing towards moments where I stand upon my desk and recite the lines, “Oh captain, my captain.” These moments filled with me with a somewhat false expectation of what life has to offer. I don’t mean this in any type of depressed, woe is me fashion, but instead I am making a simple observation that life is not what I had expected as a youth.
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking or even saying aloud (depending on how perturbed you are thus far with my diatribe), “Wow, life isn’t what you expected it to be? Imagine that.” We all expected something more during our adolescence. We all shared the same bright, wide-eyed naïveté. Unfortunately, most of us found out that the world is not as generous and accepting as we once expected it to be. We found that graduating high school does not grant every one of us the college of our choice (or the financial assistance, for that matter). Within months of our college graduation, we discovered the job we had entered into the world of post-secondary in search of would not be handed to us so quickly. A few weeks later, the realization appears that simply having a college degree doesn’t guarantee you shit. Sure, you may be better off than others who were not shown or offered the privilege that a college education bring, but in the end I see heartless collectors of college debt and immense amounts of resumes completed and delivered to seemingly phantom employers. I see SB 5. I see failed levies. I see hiring freezes. I see teachers on the verge of losing their jobs and people who don’t value their worth in this world. I hear arguments that the profession I got in, because I had a passion concerning educating the next generation, is overpaid for a work day that ends at three in the afternoon and receives three months off. I’ve learned that people are quick to pass judgments based upon surface observations. I’ve discovered that most people are unaware with the entailments each profession brings and, while I do not know the life of an attorney, construction worker, state employee, or doctor, they have no concept of the inner trappings of the profession I am now in the midst of beginning. The long days of planning, grading, and preparing that more often than not spill into the dark hours of the night are unnoticed. Hurray, teachers get summers off, but I invite any person to take on the full load of education and make these same declarations. I dare you.
I’ve learned that my journey in life varies greatly from those of my peers, friends, and those people I have yet or ever to meet. I’ve learned that although I am blessed to have a loving family, I had to move away from them to pursue greater opportunities. I’ve learned that, although it may not present itself in an extraordinarily cinematic fashion, incredible and enduring love does exist and I’ve been blessed with that. I’ve also learned that, despite my increasing anxiety for what waits upon the horizon of my future, I have the courage to face each day and the support of others to remind me of that fact.
These are things I have learned and continue to understand.
Oh, and SB 5 sucks.