Hello blogosphere! It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I began my journey (blogs included) in GR!S, but here we are! With graduation happening this upcoming Saturday, I can officially say: WE MADE IT!!!
I find it hard to believe that my first blog post was written a year ago. It’s even harder to believe that I also began this program a year ago. It feels like we’ve packed years worth of experience into what now feels like a relatively short year. With graduation right around the corner, I would like to explore something equally exciting and saddening: saying goodbye.
I was in the college dining hall and struck up a conversation with one of the college dining employees with whom I worked in my undergraduate years. It was in this conversation that I experienced my first “goodbye” – I told her that I am planning on moving into New York City over the summer, as I will be teaching in the South Bronx come August. Her eyes lit up for me; she was equally proud and saddened by the fact that I was leaving in a few short months because “my smile lights up her day.” It was in this interaction where I realized the extent to which even the smallest of gestures, including a smile, can mean a world of difference in someone’s day, week, month, year, or career.
How Does It Feel To “Move Forward” In Life?
I am trying to find the right word to explain the complex emotions one feels when saying goodbye, and I cannot quite put my finger on it. Of course, I am excited to begin a new chapter of my life in a new city with new students and new colleagues and a new subway system to learn and IT’S ALL NEW! But in this brand new phase of life and of my career comes the anxiety and apprehensions of adjusting and adapting to change. In general, I find humans are well-equipped to adapt to change; however, our mental blocks and fears of change prevent us from taking the leap of faith that change often requires.
Acting on your apprehensions can be incredibly empowering – sometimes, trying something new is just the reminder you need to remind yourself how strong and capable you are.
It is in this mental space that I find comfort in my anxieties with moving to a new city – framing the experience as one of growth, learning, and a positive challenge re-contextualizes the experience into something in which I don’t always have to succeed. I can have bad days. I can have great days. I can have days anywhere in between and outside that spectrum. With a new job, especially as a first year teacher and department chair, there will always be more to learn and room to grow. Knowing this experience will be equally as rewarding as it will be challenging makes this totally worth the trials and tribulations that lay ahead, both professionally and socially-emotionally speaking. It is also along this line of rationale that I find comfort in my emotions of pure excitement and anticipation for it all to begin!
But…Is It Still Okay To Be Sad?
Of course! Saying goodbye is a part of life. I have learned much from my father’s words (and honestly probably a song at some point – I’m not sure the origin of the phrase):
We must always remember who we were if we are to ever fully realize who we will become.
I wholeheartedly believe that every single experience in life can be framed as a learning experience, a formative stepping stone in our personal development, as we continue to realize who we are and who we want to become. Forgetting or suppressing these experiences, in my opinion, discredits these formative life experiences regardless of how positively or negatively they have affected our health and development. Some may take longer than others to see this way, and I’ve definitely had my fair share of times where I felt like I would never overcome the bad things that have happened to me. In the end, however, I think it is a testament to our resilience as human beings when we can push past our feelings of hurt and inadequacies in order to frame our failures or struggles as learning experiences rather than as experiences that weigh us down.
Feeling sad is completely natural! It is one of the core emotions of the human experience. And, as humans, we are wholly allowed to access the entire spectrum of human emotion! The important thing to remember is that we should not remain sad for too long. We should not remain upset for too long. We should not harbor resentment for too long. We must learn. We must learn to feel and then to use those negative emotions as fodder for continued growth and development.
And when it gets hard, or when you feel sad, remember that it will not last forever! Sadness is not permanent! And when it feels that way, when it gets hard, when you think you’re not going to succeed at this new phase of life, remind yourself:
You are strong enough.
You are brave enough.
You are good enough.
You are enough.