Have you ever had that moment where you get news beyond what you had hoped for and yet somehow your reaction is less than you thought it would be? And I don’t mean its you trying to play it cool or downplay things either, your immediate reaction is just not what you had thought it would be while you were waiting for the news.
Let me explain. I may have mentioned once (or a million times) before that I was stressing out over a non-academic course I had decided to take. This course had a “final assignment” that determined passing with a valid certificate or having to do some remedial work. For some reason this non-academic course had me more stressed and more nervous than most of the things I have faced in my academic career. I don’t’ believe I stressed out as much or worried myself out of sleep when I was doing my Masters to the degree that I have been while doing this course.
I sent off my “final assignment” and with it went a huge weight off my shoulders. I was so relieved to just be finished the assignment that I didn’t’ mind it would take three weeks to get the results back. Frankly the three weeks, I looked at, as being a mini-vacation of stress etc. I knew that regardless of the outcome, I had learned a great deal during this journey, but would it have been enough learning to meet the requirements? Would I have been able to articulate my thoughts clearly and concisely in a way that showed growth and personal connection?
As the three weeks started drawing to a close I promised myself if I passed the assignment, if I became certified, I would reward myself with something. Not something needed, but perhaps desired or at least lusted after. I also reminded myself that it was okay to not be fully successful the first time around, certainly not in something so far out of my comfort zone that it was beyond “just a stretch”.
When the results came I was thrilled to read the comments and see that I had in fact been able to show mastery of the material in a way that had personal connection and growth throughout it. I was thrilled to know that I had not only passed the course, but with a special recommendation to carry out more of my work. And yet where I thought I might, just might, be bouncing off the walls, I wasn’t. And not because I was bedridden either. Not because I was in the hospital, or because of stupid lupus.
I was very excited, and yet when I told Beloved it came out as “I’m so happy to have been successful in this and very honored and humbled for the recommendation to carry out more of this work.” I had a smile on my face and felt, well all full of bubbly lightness (no not gas), but I wasn’t bouncing off the walls. What happened to the ecstatic feeling I had anticipated? And when Beloved mentioned being rewarding myself for the work, somehow that thing I had desired wasn’t what I rushed about trying to obtain. I said I’d wait a bit and then reward myself. Please tell me this isn’t what getting more “mature” is all about because I can’t handle that. I want the bouncing around excitement, the shouts of joy and the running laps because you can’t contain yourself. I don’t want to lose that, just as I don’t want to lose that we have so many places to learn so many lessons. Some of the most valuable ones we will learn certainly won’t happen in classrooms or lecture halls.
Some of the lessons we learn may not happen until we are older, able to see things differently. Most of those lessons won’t come with an academic grading, or a degree. They will be hard. They will stress us out and cost us sleep at times. But they will be worth it in the end. They will show us that we can be more than we thought, that we can reach in other ways and move beyond the traditional avenues to something more authentic, more heartfelt and more human. And perhaps that is why I am not running laps right now (well that and being in the hospital, stupid lupus). Perhaps that is why I’m not rushing to obtain what I thought I desired, material or otherwise. Perhaps it is the finding of deeper me, finding of my more human side of things that is the real reward. And I had to go through the assignment, and the waiting, to see it.