I was watching an Italian soap opera last night and was struck by one of the lines uttered by the lead actor. He said something about creating a masterpiece in our life. I thought it was very timely since almost everyone at this time of the year is talking about his/her New Year’s goals and resolutions. For a minute or two I pondered on the word masterpiece, or a stunning success as the dictionary defined it. How do we create a masterpiece by the way? Did our famous artists have a picture in their head when they created their masterpieces, or they just created them by chance?
I guess you can say it is pretty easy to imagine something beautiful in our mind. Many of us actually do it a lot; we daydream. However, imagining and creating are two different things. The latter entails not only hard work but a substantial amount of tenacity. I guess that is why we put a high value on anything considered a masterpiece. As for me, I am not setting any grandiose daydreaming/planning or even resolutions this year. I will gladly open my arms to anything that will come my way. I will take my chances and create my “masterpiece” one stroke of luck at a time. This way I will get the chance to see and enjoy the process of creating versus just admiring the final result of my haphazard endeavor.
For full disclosure, I wrote this almost a month ago (sorry, I forgot to post it) and so here am I a month later still trying to keep my mantra very much alive, albeit sometimes struggling. I’ve started this year with quite a hefty workload. My Spring Term has presented me with two teaching assignments (Speaking Level 1 and Listening Level 1) and three graduate classes. Not very easy to juggle, considering the unavoidable “surprise” of an extra-curricular activities every now and then. These surprises may be inconvenient sometimes, but in retrospect, I believe these incidentals are what make life more interesting. They challenge and stretch me to my limit. For instance, last week we had the Accreditation Reviewers visit the Institute. It was my first time to be involved in such a process, and it was tedious. For three Fridays we attended boot camps to familiarize ourselves with the Institute’s workings: from mission statements to students’ initiatives. The GTA Lead used my GTA report I submitted last Term (we now refer to it as the GTA Handbook) as a reference. I didn’t anticipate that my work would eventually play a role, so when I received a document from my GTA Lead with my report as an attachment I panicked. I went through each page of my report just to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. Well, I did miss some words, and so at the last minute I edited and updated the report. Besides the “surprise GTA Handbook,” one of my classes was also chosen to be observed. My initial reaction was total serenity; I thought it would be just one of those days when I have to go to my class and go on with my teaching routine, easy as pie. I’ve had observers in my classes before, so I thought it was no big deal. That was what I thought until I was preparing my lesson plan for the scheduled date. I realized this is for the Institute’s accreditation, and I couldn’t mess up. I was having butterflies in my stomach when I entered my classroom that day. Thankfully, the 20 minutes ordeal went by very fast, and thank goodness, I did not throw up or pass out while on my toes trying to make a good impression. One final surprise was on the next day when I, together with a couple of GTA colleagues sat for an interview for the same accreditation purpose. We were on pins and needles, but we proudly made it.
Now that the hustle and bustle at the Institute is over, I would like to say I am up for another surprise (oh, that is pretty bold) – but please not today (c’mon be a peach). Fast forward: I haven’t come up with a research topic for one of my classes yet, and I have three presentations to prepare in another class. I would like to enjoy the ride, soak in all the lessons I need to learn, and at the end feel grateful to God for all the experiences and the opportunities. That in mind, I have to be mindful of taking things one day at a time. After all, life is short, and as my friend eloquently says, “All we have is today.”
Thanks for reading!