For those of you who don't know, I just started graduate school this week. I'm studying Literacy and General Childhood Education.
Didn't know I was interested in teaching?
Funny. I'm not sure how well I knew it either not that long ago.
Tonight was my second class of the semester, and in tonight's class (called Child Development), we each had to talk to the person sitting next to us for five minutes and then introduce that person to the class. I was sitting in a spot where there were three of us, not two, and both women I spoke to for those five minutes are career changers. They both are probably at least ten years older than me (if not more) and have several children. I felt very young talking to them, and in some ways, I didn't feel young at all.
"You know," I said to them. "I'm not a career changer, but I did have a very different idea of what I'd be doing after college not that long ago."
"Really?" one of the women asked.
"Yeah. Ever since I was in high school, really, I applied and applied and applied to internships and jobs in the publishing world. I was sure that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with books. But at a certain point, I just wasn't getting a job in publishing. So after some serious rethinking, I'm here. But imagine if I had gotten a job in publishing. My life already would be so different, and would go in such a different direction."
"Yeah, it's funny, the paths our lives take," said the same woman.
"Yeah..." mused the other.
Sometimes I do wonder if I was never supposed to go into publishing in the first place, if it was sort of on purpose that I never got offered a job in a publishing house. When I attend my graduate school classes, when I sit in the library for three hours straight reading for class...I can't even describe what that feels like. You won't believe me. You'll think I'm over-exaggerating. But...I'm not. I'm really not. Every single second I'm there...I'm filled with this intense feeling of...rightness. I am doing the right thing. I am in the right place. I have set foot on a path where I know I can make a difference in people's lives concerning something I am passionate about. This is where I'm supposed to be. Not behind a desk at a publishing house.
Do I sound completely crazy to you?
But imagine how different things would be if just one place had offered to hire me? Just one? In all those years of applying.
Imagine how different my life would be if Stern had never put on a bizarre student-written play some years ago. Imagine if the Commentator had never written a blasting review of that play. Imagine if I had been too lazy to attend a random meeting of the drama society and heard Chana talk about her blog. Imagine if I had never, on a whim that night, decided to start my own blog.
Imagine if Ezzie had never started talking to me on gchat. Imagine if he had never invited me for Thanksgiving. Imagine if SJ and Fudge had never brought me there. Imagine if I hadn't stayed for Shabbos.
Imagine if SJ and I had not had all the same classes a few years ago in Stern. Imagine if The Apple and I had not been in fencing class together. Imagine if I had not decided to stay in Latin class as an only student. Imagine if I had not been an English Major.
Imagine if I had gone to Queens College.
Imagine how each decision, even small ones, how each chance encounter (if you believe in chance encounters), even seemingly unimportant ones, shape our lives so completely. How they've shaped my life.
Who would I be today if even one of those things was different? Or hadn't happened?
What if I'd never had an utterly boring job two summers ago and hadn't started writing a story and emailing the segments? Would I still be in the middle of a book right now? Would it be this book?
There are so many other factors in my life that could be different if it weren't for small things I decided to do, small risks I decided to take, small encounters I had. It's a crazy thing to think about.
I'm so happy with the way my life is turning out. I love my friends - the ones I didn't even know until a few years ago. I love all my old friends, too. I love what I'm doing. I love where I'm going. I love what I'm writing. I love what I've already written. I love that when I'm not reading or writing or in school, I'm doing things like playing the flute or attempting to illustrate things I've written.
And none of those things would be there if it weren't for the small things that have, in the words of Robert Frost, made all the difference. Really.
Imagine how different all of our lives could be if it were not for the small decisions, the chance encounters, the tiny interactions that begin beautiful friendships and relationships, that start us off on paths not only towards desirable goals, but where the paths themselves are such amazing places to be walking along.
I love life.