With four weeks of school already gone, I’m taking a moment to reflect on the passage of time. It has been five months since Singapore’s circuit breaker and just over eight months since a new virus came into our world. I am in my fourth consecutive year in Singapore and my tenth year as an educator.
Time goes. It just goes.
This is why it is important to be aware that every single day makes a difference. Every day is a chance to be in the world, to breathe fresh air, to taste our food, to feel our bodies move, to smile at a stranger, to make a new friend. We have so many opportunities to ask questions, have conversations, learn something new, help those in need and those around us, and make choices that make the world a better place.
I recently learned the question, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. This was a pivotal moment for me and I can already see its impact on the way I make decisions. Simply knowing this is both powerful and frightening. Framed like this, the answers to some difficult questions become so obvious that they are impossible to ignore. And yet accepting those answers is as scary as asking the question in the first place.
What would my world be had I learned this question half a lifetime ago? How would those years have shifted, woven, and been shaped into a life I’ll never know? What worlds might have been built within that time?
Even more to the point: What’s next? For that matter, what is now?
Times goes, but first it is ours.
We have all recognized at this point that the luxury of normal is indeed a luxury. Predictability is a luxury, a thing of the past in some very stark ways. I wonder which habits of mind we will return to when normal returns – because it will. History tells us that it always has. And I wonder which former habits of mind we will discard in favor of new ones that we’ve learned and adopted.
We have just completed the fourth week of this school year. It is unprecedented, but so is the last. These are four weeks that we never envisioned existing as they are, four weeks that very easily might not have looked like this, and might change still. We are all asking questions and getting used to a reality of few answers.
But if I have learned anything, it is that the unknown will always be unknown. We can never know what it holds or looks like, and this is not unique to the present snapshot in time. I have learned that we won’t even know we’re there until that’s what there is. And I have learned what truly is constant. The trees still stand tall. When the world seems to be spinning out of control, I now know what I can cling to and what will not let me go.
Just over a year ago, I hesitated to buy a couch because I didn’t want to be anchored anywhere. I didn’t want to own an object that might hold me down. And now I realize it is not the couch holding me down but my own fears of what might be out there in the unknown.
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
I’d close my eyes and jump.