The past few days, I have been thinking of what the near future holds for me. I have to decide whether to keep teaching, whether to stay in Korea and if I leave, where do I go? The answers aren’t obvious to me although I suppose they appear so to others. Unlike most people, I believe my problem is having too many options, although I know that is more a blessing than a problem. However, I think of the generations before me and they took their best available option and that was it. They didn’t put too much thought into it. If they did, it was only in practical terms such as distance and money. Today, at least to me, the infinite choices make it difficult. I always feel like there is something better, somewhere. And so I keep looking.
A man told me once that only one percent of the world gets to do what they want for a living, so if you have that choice, you should make it count. Most people are born into a job that they have to do and their lives pass them by as they try to make ends meet. Being given a choice of career is a luxury. However, this luxury makes me second-guess myself when deciding exactly what it is that I should do. I have a problem settling. Not settling down, but settling. I can never accept something which I don’t fully have my heart into or at least enjoy. I could never hang out with people I don’t like. I could never pretend to enjoy a meal. I could never act like I was into a girl if I wasn’t. In a way, it is honesty which is always a good thing but it’s also a refusal to compromise and that can get one into trouble or at least complicate matters.
And so it is, I find myself sitting here in my office in a Korean middle school pondering my next move. I can never forget that when I was fourteen or fifteen years old, I had such a confidence in myself that I thought the world was my toy. I firmly believed that nothing was out of my hands. But, that was fourteen or fifteen years ago. Now, I just think of how much time has passed and how different the life I live is from the life I pictured. I thought I would have it all by now and I don’t have much, although I still have opportunities others would kill for. I guess I got sidetracked.
I used to think that the rat race and working hard were overrated. I still don’t know about all that. Now, I think hard work is great , but only if it is for the right reasons. I’m not motivated by money. I’m not motivated by material objects at all, the things that seem to motivate most others. I really couldn’t care less about all that. The most valuable currency to me is laughs and I already have my share. However, I am reaching a point where that’s just not enough. No matter how raucous the time, something is missing. It always catches up with me, whether it be the next morning or the next Monday. I feel it eventually. It doesn’t feel bad or anything. It’s more of a sensation, like your wrist the day you forget your watch or your scalp after a haircut. You think something ‘s there but then you realize it isn’t.
I feel a greater purpose these days, something inside of me trying to get out. More than anything, I don’t want to hold myself back. I think I am great at certain things and horrible at others. That is a fear of mine, that I don’t have the right combination of tools, that I didn’t focus enough on building them up. I hope my lack of focus hasn’t rendered other skills useless. Like a baseball player great at stealing second, but he can’t get on first.
Honestly, I feel like I’m on a basketball team and one day I got fed up. I stopped practicing and I stopped scrapping. Didn’t care for any system and didn’t care about playin’ time. So, Coach gave my minutes to someone else and now I’m warming the end of the bench. Figured I would ride out into the sunset. Then, one day, the spark returned. I didn’t even know it had been gone. Suddenly, I wanted to go all out again. But it seems like I kinda forgot how. Everyone tells me I still got it, but I gotta get back in the game to prove it. It’s a long, hard climb. I know I have the will to win, but do I have the will to do what it takes to win?
I’ll find out soon enough.
“The key is not the “will to win” . . . everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – a Bobby Knight quote that i paraphrased above
this song is one of my favorites. it is called “inside of me” by little steven & the disciples of soul. the lyrics are amazing