At the moment, I am having some difficulty in discerning where one part of the story ends and the other begins.
Perhaps this is because everything in my mind right now exists in a jumble, meticulously folded and itemized for utility--in a yet another well-worn suitcase, which I have packed and put on wheels to fly through the air--just like the rest of me.
I could say that I have felt some sense of finality and closure to the past 14 months of my life, but it would be careless to imply that life is always clean, clear-cut and perfectly linear. In review, however, my teaching contract has come to an end. In an abrupt and discernible way, this marks the end of a fortuitous, 14-month long moment in which I was given an identity to assume, and the legitimacy to back it up with exceptionally patient, creative and focused hard work. In all honesty, I can say that I am very proud of myself and the work that I have done. I might add that I was careful and aware of my role as a college professor and its importance--both to me and my colleagues, but, most importantly, to my students. I have been blessed with the gift of planting purpose, agency, new thoughts and ways of seeing ourselves in the minds of young people. In my own, extremely small way, I have helped where I was needed in making the world a bit better, by sharing the few gifts I came with and being of use to others.
In the past 14 months, I have been aware of the fact that life is certainly full of blind alleys, unexpected sucker punches and general weirdness. Yet there are still many moments of kindness, peace and utter transcendence. One thing I know from all of this is that there are no coincidences. Instead, what seems like "luck" or "fate" is the Universe's way of engaging us, tempting us to take a bite and see what happens next. Paulo Coelho might call these "signs" or "blessings". Accordingly, there is an importance in reading the signs as they present themselves. Yet one of my favorite quotes of Coelho's is: "Every blessing ignored becomes a curse."
I am yet to book my flight back to the Middle East. Despite ongoing events in Gaza, in my own, small way, I feel the need to take my time with this. A few signs have popped up in the past couple of weeks, indicating to me that I need to pay attention to the details of the moment, rather than try to rush to get ahead. In particular, a job interview awaits me at the end of January. The job, which is not academic, may significantly change the next few years of my life. (But, of course, this is what I have been envisioning for a while now...and it is a plan that I put into action a few months ago.) In the meantime, I am doing my best to stay grounded, focused and patient. After I finish packing and sorting my life out into what can fit into my Honda, I will return to my writing for the next few weeks. Only this time, I hope to have a better perspective than I had last summer on the job at hand. Despite the fatigue that I find myself swimming through from the past 14 months, I can also say with clarity that I don't feel nearly as abandoned and directionless as I did over the summer.
Finally, I cannot begin to anticipate where it is that I am really going from here. I have a blueprint in my mind, and a very clear idea of what needs to happen. But will it? Certainly, it is not a matter of will or talent per se, but an issue altogether contained in having the fortitude and resolve to make life happen, rather than wait around for it to happen to me.
Fourteen months later, I'm yet to find where I can be complacent. But, for now, if it all can fit in the Honda, then this will do....