This is going to sound trite, but I can scarcely believe that we've launched full into 2013 already.
2012 was an immense year for me personally, as I had more time than ever to spend with my thoughts and myself and who I am at this point in my life. It was a year of incredible frustrations professionally and immense growth and happiness personally.
Though you're rarely supposed to say it out loud, I began last year questioning my choice to 'put my life on hold' in America and join the Peace Corps. I think many of the people who serve in this capacity have many doubts. These doubts, I've found, follow one of three routes: they dissipate over time, are proven false, or become even more solidified and result in an early return to home.
Over the course of the year, I moved slowly from the mindset of my life being 'on hold' to recognizing and relishing in the fact that me, here, in Cambodia: this is life. This is me living, and that's why it's so concurrently, exquisitely, painful and relieving.
Pain was the unrequited search to find my place and meaning in my assigned role here, and relief was the moment when I expanded my breadth and scope of what my role is and found all the joy and peace I'd been missing when limiting myself. Pain was the nagging self-doubt and questioning of the last four years of professional work and its value in this new world, this new culture, this new life. Relief was the moment standing in front of thirty new teachers and realizing that, there, that's it for me. That is the nexus of comfort and challenge and what I want for the rest of my professional days.
When I was a teacher, I was constantly questioning, and if you ask Chris, I was very often emotional. When I was supporting new teachers, I saw all that pain and growth I had experienced for two years reflected back to me in the eyes of the eighty new teachers I supported. A friend and co-worker, in the same role as I, framed that pain and emotion in this way:
Change is painful.
What I was doing, what they were doing -educating those amazing, trying young people - was inherently painful, day in and day out, because those young people were changing me, educating me, helping me discover my own truth.
Change is painful.
2012 was an exquisitely painful year.
Which clearly could be the beginning of a great exercise in self psychoanalysis, but I digress.
If 2012 was about change and all of the joy and discomfort that accompanies it,
2013, I hope, will be about adjusting my response. More thoughtful, more considered, more positive.