Who are you? Where are you going?
These two questions are how I began every year of my Junior American Literature Class. At first, my students would take these questions quite literally. As the year went on, it became apparent that I did the "English teacher thing:" I had asked them a symbolic question about their lives. Through Transcendentalists and Post Modernists, they would arrive at an end of year term paper about these exact questions. While many of my students may not have appreciated the assignment, the life lesson here is more. My job was never to just teach them about writing; it was always to also foster creativity, independent thought, and individuals passionate about SOMETHING.
Finding your passion can be daunting. That's why we need guides to help mentor us along this quest of life. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Who am I? Where am I going?
Let's take a stroll down nostalgia lane.
Born to two Italian immigrants, my upbringing was shaped by their cultural way of life. I grew to appreciate this later once I became a mother and realized that the stories need to be told before they are lost forever. Growing up, I had many avenues to find my passion. I consider myself lucky to have had the privilege of exploring those crossroads.
Piano lessons led me to audition and gain acceptance to Dana School of Music- but I promptly dropped my double major. Dance classes led me to MANY shows and company performances- but I knew that I wouldn't make a career out of long performance nights, and I had to choose: cheerleading or dance? Performing in high school musicals led me to memorizing countless scripts and vocal lessons- but instructing drama classes became more my speed than being in the spotlight. Running track and playing basketball led me to appreciating the sports- but I never found a spark in all that hype. Astronomy club had me fascinated with the universe and led me to taking a class in college- but I definitely never thought about the stars the same way once I experienced all that math in collegiate astronomy class. Reading 35 novels in one school year per class assignment while also attending the YSU English Festival definitely led me to teaching English for 15 years- but the mandated state testing clouds the purpose of literature. Joining Alpha Xi Delta led me to appreciate philanthropy and brought me close friendships- but college doesn't last forever, and I learned that prioritizing friendships is called "the playdate" in mama language.
Here lies the point- the list can go on, but what really matters is this: I've had many side quests to figure out who I am and where I'm going. Good times and bad times have graced those side quests. I hope life causes you to think on all your past experiences. Who were you becoming? Where did you go? Did you make it there? The truth is that many of us are still searching. And many of us may never find our passion. Our eyes may be closed or we just aren't looking anymore.
So, what's next? I'm a mama preserving the past in the stories I tell. I'm a homemaker keeping time through faith and rosary bead prayer. I'm consciously choosing non toxic products for my family because I want to eradicate generational health issues. I'm supporting other mamas to rebuild the village. I'm going to continue to speak my passion and spread it around like the wind carries the dandelion seeds. And, just like the dandelion, some may view these passions as nuisances in their garden while others may view them as "medicine."
Find your field of wildflowers. You have one shot to grow. Don't waste it!
Who are you? Where are you going?