The illusion of these blog posts is their finality. Here, as in all areas of my life, if I am capable of writing a problem down, it already feels halfway concluded. When numbered, written, and entitled, each lesson on this blog seems to indicate that it is a problem that has already been fixed.
The final lesson to this series is that this is not the case.
When I was a teenager, I thought I would know (most) everything I needed to know by the time that I left college. (I also thought I would stop needing to write because there’d be nothing left to figure out.) Not so.
Instead, the questions I’ve had about life have multiplied, flowered out. Some aspects of my life have become a lot more clear, but other areas of my life have simply become more humbling. I love academia because it reminds me daily to not settle into familiar paths (Lesson 10): there are so many more places to travel (Lesson 25), so many more books to read, so many more languages to learn. I cannot get through a day in grad school without being inspired by people, globally and locally (Lesson 26); when I teach, I am reminded daily that I’m only as old as I believe I am (Lesson 22).
I was disappointed this summer in Nantes because I thought that, after fifteen years of studying French, I would probably stop feeling occasionally out of place due to my language (wrong). But my French, like everything written here, are works in progress.
The reoccurring themes about control — learning to let go (Lesson 1), learning to wait (Lesson 9) — reveal my weakness for wanting to know the end of the story when in reality it is I who will write it. It’s taken me an incredibly long time to find myself — my voice (Lesson 8), my path (Lesson 7), and my self confidence (Lesson 28) — and I sense that this process has only just started. Breaking down barriers and blurring categories (Lesson 24) brings me incredible freedom (on the days that I can remember to think this way). And above all, the loyalty and love of my family and friends — and even strangers — are gifts that carry me forward, gifts that I desire to pass on.
But this is just the beginning.
What is life, in the end, other than a series of endlessly-moving destinations?