Each Monday someone gives an inspirational speech. This week was my turn. Here it is
I wrote a really excellent speech for today. I mean I had been working on this one version since Ms. B asked for people to speak. I put in time, it had a theme, and pauses and all of those things that public speaking classes say you should have and jokes. Some of which I have to tell you were NOT funny. But then something happened. Ms. G gave an amazing speech about her mother, and even more so about appreciating your body and it’s ability. Then Jamie gave quite the outstanding speech about her knee and soccer but even more than that it felt to me like a speech about appreciating life and really choosing to focus on the good things. And you know what? They stole my speech. My really excellent speech.
So I did what any self-respecting 25 year old would do and I called my mom and whined about it. I told her about my great speech on choosing happy and appreciating the good things and she said to me, “too bad guess you’ll have to talk about something else.” So I whined some more because I am a stellar whiner. But finally she gave me the idea for my speech. So to give credit where credit is due, thanks mom.
Take a minute now and try to imagine yourself ten years in the future all of you will be finishing college, some of you will be living with partners, pets, or parents, a few of your will definitely be living in different countries, many of you in grad school. Some of you in grad school programs I will be extraordinarily jealous of. When I was 15 I could have told you what 25 year-old me would be like. She would be married, she would have a house, she would have been a teacher for at least two years, and she would be probably starting to have kids real soon. Because at 15, 25 seemed so far off. By the time I was 18 I had different plans, I had gotten in to college at University of California Santa Cruz, but after about 8 months there I was diagnosed which clinical depression and I moved back home. This was not my plan. It was not part of my life plan to have this. My plans were crumbling. How could I do everything I wanted to do if I lived with my parents?
I ended up attending to community college for a year between UCSC and my new college Cal State San Marcos because they didn’t accept sophomore transfers. This was also not in my plan. In fact if you had told 15 year old me that I was going to end up having to spend a year at community college she would have probably stormed upstairs and a slammed her bedroom door.
Because of the year in community college it took me three more years to graduate college a total of five. It took me another year to get a teaching credential. At this point I was 24. But that just wasn’t fair because I was supposed to be 23 when I started teaching. I the house I lived in was not my own and I still didn’t have a serious boyfriend. 15 year old me was so disappointed.
And then I had to apply for jobs. Which is not an enjoyable process let me tell you. I ended up with several interviews. In fact in two cases it was between me and 1 other person and again I started to make plans. Where I would live, how it would be, how much money I would make. And both times they choose the other person.
I ended up getting a job 300 miles north of my parents teaching in a middle school. This was not part of the plan either but I grew to love it. It took me about 6 months to really establish a life up there but I got my own apartment, made friends and had a really good job. Then I began to think about the future. What classes would I teach next year? Would I teach all three grades again? The same ones or different? How would my current students do in high school? Could I go on a second date with this guy?
But because of budget costs I lost that job. I was the last teacher hired in the district so I was the first to be let go when they needed to cut a math teacher. So I ended up applying for jobs all over again except this time I got offers. In fact I got 3 of them. Then I got an email from [this school]. So again I made plans and flew across the country. After 12 hours of delayed flights I made it here for my interview. I arrived at 2 am. I taught my demo lesson on 3 hours of sleep. In fact I was so nervous I spent that morning hanging out with one of the interns and her new puppy. But it didn’t matter when I walked on campus I knew I couldn’t say no. There is something about this place that this place. A sense of belonging. And when you know you just know.
But [this school] was never in my plans. I always planned on teaching public school, I always planned on teaching in California. I planned, I planned and I planned.
With all that planning I am just now starting to figure things out
Because I was clinically depressed, I grew in to a person I really like. Because I lived at home in college, I discovered my parents were human and learned to like them as people. Because I lived at home, I became best friends with my brother. Because I went to community college, I met a girl whose wedding I went to. I met 2 of my closest friends and went to their weddings, too. Because I went to Cal State San Marcos I met my mentor and person who really shaped me as a teacher. Because I lived in Northern California, I discovered the impact that I could have on student’s lives. Because I lost my job, I ended up working here. Because Ms. G and Jamie gave their speeches, I ended up giving this one. All of these things happened not because of but in spite of my plans.
There is an old saying that goes “god laughs as we make plans” I like to think that if there is a god and if this saying is true that she was laughing because she knew that my life would end up better than anything I could have planned. And I hope that as you make your plans (because we all know we can’t help but make plans) that you remember that there is a good chance your life will go far beyond anything you can plan for.