I Wish I Had…

I am utterly infatuated with Adele’s most recent album. Before the release, many in the media were saying (including Adele herself) that this album is a reflection on her past as a bittersweet reminiscence. I can relate to this because I find myself often thinking the phrase “I wish I had..”. I wish that I had stuck with an instrument or I wish I was more athletic because I feel that those are things that would set me apart where I am now in my life. I used to find that there was nothing that set me apart, nothing that I was interested in that defined who I am. Many other students in my graduating class were artists or on sports teams, acted in musicals or played instruments, but I was that kid who was mediocre(ly) good at everything. I was interested in environmental science but nothing came of that, I was an artist but not as good as I thought some of my classmates were, I was in musicals but I never wanted to play the lead role and I wouldn’t have been caught dead on a sports team. There are many things that I wish I had done or had committed to more but the other day I had a realization.  I am who I am now because of the things that I didn’t have enough time for or didn’t try in my younger years. If I had been busy on sports teams, I wouldn’t have found time to read. I may not have found a home in social justice and anti-oppressive education if I had been busy practicing the violin.

When I chose to pursue education as a career, I had to pick a major (for my secondary program) and I had so many subjects to choose from that I really didn’t know what the best choice would be until a vice principal at my school looked at my marks and realized that my humanities classes had slightly better marks. Not by 10% or 15% but by 4% or 5%. This small difference showed me that I don’t necessarily have to get great marks to enjoy something. Until this point, I had thought that most people just enjoyed the classes that they did the best in in terms of grades. I, however, seemed to be mind-numbingly average from my own point of view. Now I can see that while I may not be the best at something, I am so much more than that. I am SO proud of who I have become. I’ve found a home and a love in social justice and anti-oppressive education as well as English. I also realized that I did all the things that I never considered myself to be. I’m not a classically trained musician, but I can play my guitar pretty well and sing along in a way that makes me happy (not because other’s think I’m great but because I think I’m great and I honestly enjoy what I’m doing). I never considered myself to be an athlete. I was always reserved and self-conscious and I never thought that I had what it takes to be an athlete and now I work out almost every day and I love pushing my body to see how strong I am. I’ve still never played a team sport but I have the confidence and physical literacy to enjoy my physical being and I’m just getting strong and gaining confidence every day.

I’ve done all of the things I never thought I would do or be but I did them in a way that pleased me, not the societal standards of what defines these types of people. I have broad and diverse interests that make me knowledgeable in many areas and more importantly, have made me into a curious person who always craves more. I would not have found my passions and gained all of these diverse literacies if I had tried to fit myself into what I thought society deemed for these roles or I would have been too concerned with only having one role to play to see my other strengths. I don’t want to be seen as just a single definition in simplest terms because I’m not. No one is. In the essence of “The Breakfast Club” (John Hughes, 1985), we are not simple definitions instead we are characters who are diverse and have many aspects to our personalities. I am no longer reminiscent of the things I didn’t do, instead, I focus on things that I want to do to enrich my future because there is always time to learn something new (even if you think that you’re too old for it).

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