Encore: To Be Young Again

I teach in a high school.
Where there is a lot of energy. And excitement. And enthusiasm.
You’d think that spending every work day with young people would make me feel young. And most days it does. But quite often being juxtaposed beside such exuberance reminds me

of how old I really am.

When you are young, you approach life with a sense of curiosity and optimism. You have that “shell-shocked”, “deer in a headlight” look

but it is more a look of innocence than one of terror.

When you are young, the idea that you may fail, or come in “second place” tickles around the periphery of you mind but

not enough to scare you into immobility or incapacitation.

No, you are excited at the prospect of learning and growing, and performing, and creating.

But

when you get old, it’s just easier to do what you’ve always done.

Because you know how to do it.

It’s safe. And you know that you will succeed

or that your skill is passable enough to escape criticism.

When you are young, you think you can do anything.

Having no frame of reference is scary. It’s like flying around not knowing

where it is safe to land.

But land you do, and listen to constructive criticism of coaches and teachers and adjudicators then go away

and practice and practice and practice so that next time you improve your odds.

And feel all the more confident when you do so.

I wish I had my the courage some of my students show.

I did once.

When I was young and trying to figure out what I was good at … and what I wasn’t good at. My fear of failure wasn’t incapacitating. Rather it fuelled my intention for being.

Now, I do what I must, in life then go home and if I have the energy, learn something new that doesn’t scare the bejeebers out of me and

I better see some movement towards mastery or I give and go to sleep …or surf the internet.

What would attempt to learn if I were young again?

Italian.

Art History.

How to ride a horse.

As I sit here, on my sofa, after a twelve-hour work day it all seems impossible….

but,

who’s to say, after a good night’s sleep, I won’t feel spry enough to try. And besides

A chi vuole, non maneano modi.

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