Today after our final practicum (where all 20 of us took turns teaching the rest of the group for about 5 minutes each), I took a moment to listen to the chatter among my new friends. Much of it was full of compliments on how well we taught, how confident we seemed, and how clearly we internalized the material we’ve been pouring into our brains over the past month. There was also a lot of “Phew! So glad that’s over. I couldn’t wait to just be done.” But then following those sighs of relief, there was the beautifully self-aware admission, “But that means we’re closer to tomorrow being our last day here. And I don’t want to rush that.”
We try to rush through so much of our lives, some consciously and some subconsciously. We just want our commutes to end so we can hurry up and get to work. We want final exams or big work presentations over as soon as possible so we can feel relief from our anxiety and nerves. As children, many of us wished we could just grow up already and skip the heartaches of adolescence. Fast forwarding time becomes the focus of our attention rather than really living through that experience. And it’s amazing how much we miss out on when we do that.
I love that this month has taught my classmates and me how to recognize relatively quickly when we emotionally want to avoid reality or skip over stressful events but still choose experience over ignorance. It used to feel so difficult, but it’s now becoming a new positive habit of mine. It’s changing how I’m viewing my career transition and job search, it’s changing how present I am in conversations with those around me, and it’s changing how honest I can be with myself.
I don’t wish to fast forward time at all. I trust that this moment will serve me in the way that it’s intended to, as will the one after it and the one after that. Of course, I still look forward to the future — I just don’t see how skipping the present will actually get me there faster. If anything, I want to slow down time just a little bit to cherish all that I have right now. I want to walk in tomorrow, on our last day in class together, and soak up all that I can from this wildly compassionate group of people that have become a new community to me.
Take it all in and leave nothing out — the good, the bad and the ugly. That’s the only way to really live.