Saturday, January 1, 2011

Into the Past, Part I

I spent a few hours the other day cleaning out my study, throwing out, shredding, and recycling various papers I've collected over the past several years in anticipation of a much larger purge during the new year. Among these sheets I kept encountering past lives, either those I actually lived or those I had at one time intended to live. There was one page on which I had written a fairly extensive business plan for a Japanese import shop, complete with name, corporate identity, a list of items to carry and services to offer. It was written after returning from my two-year stint in Japan when I had no idea how to proceed in my life career-wise. Another "business plan" I had developed a few years later was as teacher/tutor of various Slavic languages: Russian, Polish, Czech, and Ukrainian. I had several pages of a copied flyer that I had posted about town and at local universities. In a matter of three short years I had reduced my ambition from business entrepreneur to second-class teacher and part-time tutor. Thankfully, neither of these "career" paths panned out. Instead, I was to eventually (or finally) return to graduate school to complete the doctorate. Now I'm at that crossroads in my personal and professional lives that it's time to narrow my past and eventual paths down to the bare essentials. I no longer need a business plan for a Japanese import shop. I no longer need to market my language skills as a means of earning a few random bucks from poor students who mistakenly think they need to develop skills in any of my languages. It's now time to let go, to let be. Goodbye to these pasts, these past lives, these potentialities and possibilities. Hello to me and the path I've chosen and still adore.

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