What Must Be Done

There’s nothing I need to do.

I don’t have anything I must do now.

On my last day of working at a school I neither loved nor hated I found the events passing by as they would on any other day. Life doesn’t punctuate turning points, or shifts with horns, confetti, music, hugs, high fives, congratulations, and good luck wishes. We add those things by ourselves, and I had no interest in celebrating.

Whether I acknowledged or celebrated the new life, it had arrived. This was the beginning of my self-employment, and any failure or success will be a product of the actions I take next. I spent three years frustrated by the work I needed to be doing, the projects that I didn’t have time to do the right way, the places I couldn’t go. . . .

I don’t want to create the illusion that I’ve been living a miserably busy life. For three years I’ve been teaching English as a second language. I’ve worked in Taiwan, France, Japan, and had time to visit some more countries along the way. So, I don’t feel like I have the right to complain about my work, but that never stopped anyone from doing it.

Teaching English has given me the opportunity to live in other countries, experience other cultures, and learn about the world as well as myself. I would recommend it to anybody interested in spending some time abroad. But, as with anything, there are some drawbacks. Depending on the location and the employer, the income fluctuates the schedule can be limiting.

In Taiwan, I usually started worked on weekdays around 4 or 4:30. That was awesome. But, I also worked all day on Saturday with four classes spread throughout the day making for an exhausting Saturday and a one day weekend. Not so awesome.

In France, I was living with a family and tutoring them in English. They fed me, gave me a place to stay, and were always kind enough to include me in their family activities and help me learn French. But, I did not get paid, my schedule was largely dictated by the family, and I was reminded of how noisy a household with three children can be.

In Japan, I was back to making money and even had myself a two-day weekend. The company I worked for provided a car for me which I was allowed to use for personal use making it possible for me to take some trips on the weekends. On the other hand, weekdays were booked up with classes 9 AM to 9PM with breaks often only long enough to get some food and/or drive to wherever my next class was located.

There were positives and negatives to each of these positions. I was still able to find time study the language of whatever country I was in, do my own studying of whatever had my interest at the time, and work towards creating a financially independent business, but I was never able to do enough in any of these things to feel satisfied with the amount of attention I was giving them.

Ultimately, I made some excuses and didn’t maximize the time I did have. People often manage to find a place to point their finger, as long as it’s not at themselves. But, now there is nothing to provide excuses for me. There’s nothing I need to be doing. If I don’t make progress in those things I care about most there is nowhere else to point the finger. Even when that is the case, we usually manage to find another direction for the pointing. This is my reminder of where the fault really belongs.

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One thought on “What Must Be Done

  1. Well said. Best of luck in your self-employment pursuits. I give a ton of credit to anyone who does this. I admire their commitment and confidence. The world needs “doers, creativity, inventive, self-motivated people. They are the ones who invent the newest “must have”, design the beautiful fashions, paint the breath-taking pictures, write the entrancing novel………. For me, I’ve always taken the “safe” route…Steady job, pay I could count on….It works for me and many others. They key is to be happy in what you do. Be happy, be successful (by your definition) and don’t be too hard on yourself! Enjoy the journey.

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