IMO: 20 Years Later

I feel a silver lining to the COVID experience is it has allowed me to stop the merry-go-round to pause, reflect, and prioritize. This has brought to the surface tapped down memories and feelings and discussions around the table. The not-so-good feelings, the spiders on the wall–my 4 D’s: delusion, denial, deprecation, and depression have followed me around all my life. Then there are the good parts of me, the virtues: initiative, perceptiveness, diligence, and loyalty. In short, at worst, I’m a neurotic dreamer. At best, in a past life, I was probably a dog. Ha!

One boring day, my daughter and I took a free Myers-Briggs personality test. I’m a BDNF. I’m rare, they said. I’m John Snow. An Eleanor Roosevelt. A Gandi. Wow. That’s flattering, but there’s guilt that I haven’t done much in light of their accomplishments. Except for John Snow. He was a boring character in Game of Thrones. I do feel, however, that in a past life I was Brienne of Tarth. Speaking of boredom, after ravishing through Season 4 of The Last Kingdom and gulping down Season 5 of Outlander, I decided to rewatch the GoT series when I couldn’t remember much of what happened in the first four seasons. I must say, I am having fun. During COVID, my time is spent babysitting, reading, writing, and researching. I need a bolt of fun in the evening.Β 

In the 1990s, when I was in my thirties and at college, I wanted to become a professor at the community college level. A professor warned me to get my teaching degree at the secondary level while I worked on my Master’s. He predicted the market would become saturated, and it would be tough to get a full-time position as a professor. “Everyone’s going to college. Those Ph.D. grads that don’t get hired at the university level? Guess what? The junior colleges pick them up, thus making a Master’s degree the value of a bachelor’s degree.” Well, he was right. Imagine being a single parent! Yikes! No wonder I was frazzled, and the 1990s and 2000s were a blur. My adult life is like Game of Thrones. I know I lived through it, but why can’t I remember anything? COVID allowed me to revisit the seasons to see if I held up over time.Β 

Still, I have taught at both levels simultaneously for twenty years. I’ve been a hole-filler adjunct since 2000. I’ve taught at the high school level since 1999. I didn’t want to be a high school teacher. But I did it. I have six more years to go. All my student loans will be paid off, and I can retire with a pension. I did not want to run this marathon race, but I’m almost at the finish line, and grand vacations await.

When you are “becoming” something, it’s easy to believe that it is your destiny. When you fall into a career you did not want, it is easy to believe you were shortchanged. After twenty years, it’s all okay. Once I was obtuse. Now it is clear that God wanted me to have this career because I am very good at it. Don’t ask me about the paradigm-shifting, acronym-gathering, administrative micro-managing parts of the profession. None of it bothers me anymore. I just smile and carry on.Β 

The time spent in seclusion has allowed me to feel grateful for my career. I feel the honor of getting to know the saintly students–those who will most likely succeed with the straightest trajectory, and the sandpaper students–those who have interesting personalities and circumvent the norm. My school asked teachers to create a short video message for the graduating seniors. Who knows what will happen to our school when we resume on August 1. I thought it might be interesting for you to see the real me and hear my voice. I may be getting old, but I’m safe. I’m one of the good guys, and I’ve got their backs. Hail, Brienne of Tarth!

61 Comments on “IMO: 20 Years Later

    • It was a lot of realizations for me. And more than time I hang up frustrations and negative feelings of “being stuck” in a career I didn’t want. I guess I need time to sort it all out for me. I thank you for reading, Lloyd!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. In England, John Snow was a very famous cricketer but an intelligent man who wrote poetry. His best lines for me,were

    “The ifs and oughts
    And countless thoughts,
    Best left in the thinker’s head”.

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    • Ha! John Snow has a poetic sound to it. I like his wisdom. My ifs and oughts and thoughts came out today in a long post. Perhaps I ought to have kept them in my head. πŸ˜‰

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  2. What a great little video for your students, Cindy! And great to β€˜meet’ you for the first time, too

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  3. I have never seen GOT, so the reference is lost on me.
    But I get your own thoughts, and have no doubt that you are an excellent teacher who cares about the students. Seeing you animated and hearing your voice was an unexpected bonus! πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can’t see your video on my iPad so will come back later on the Big Mac. We’ve just done the same, Last Kingdom, Outlander and redo of GoT. Brienne is one of my faves 😊

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  5. Another fine post, Cindy. And I love the video. Teachers are the bomb. In a fair world they would be paid what they deserve,
    PS: Brienne is one of the reasons I watched GOT.

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  6. As someone who fell into a career I didn’t want I really empathise with this post. Like you I’m happy I can see the finish line and like you I believe everything happens for a reason. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday Cindy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post Cindy πŸ™‚ Interesting observations and I must say, it was really awesome to hear your voice – I was interested in what your voice sounded like πŸ™‚ If I was still a college student and I went to the college you teach, I would undoubtedly have taken one of your classes πŸ™‚ Anyway, keep up the great work as always πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  8. It is always nice to actually hear from fellow bloggers, literally. I think I would have enjoyed being one of tour students. You remind me a lot of my journalism/English instructor, Carrie Brimi. She always strived to engage every student and helped them when they’re struggling. She was also one of my blog’s very first supporters too, so that has always been something I’ve cherished.

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    • Good for Carrie! I know what a fine writer you are. I am a fan of your words and how you create interesting pieces to read. I wish you would create a brief video with your voice! I agree, it adds a dimension to the virtual world. I would like to know what you look and sound like !!!

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      • I posted this video I made when I visited my dad when he lived in Seattle, on my blog circa 2014. The video is from 2009 I think, footage compiled from my first visit out there. I could have sworn you saw that post when it first went up, but perhaps not. Anyway, I am including the link here below. The video indeed stars yours truly! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

        Hope you enjoy.

        https://digitalshortbread.com/2014/09/04/tbt-hiking-in-the-cascades-2009/

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        • I loved the video, Tom! Although your hiking partner is a fun guy, I wish I saw your face. πŸ˜‰ Your voice, however, is exactly how I imagined you speaking. I love to hike and the panting up the mountain by you two made me glad I was sitting comfy in my chair! The view of the clouds and the Gatorade scene made me smile. Nice work!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. So nice to see and hear you on video clip Cindy. I bet your students would classify you as an amazing gifted teacher. While my main life work has been with administration I did teach students at the Bachelor and Master level as a side favor in Asia, particularly in university distance learning projects for summer school which I somehow fitted into my administration program yearly. I enjoyed the freewheeling interchange with students at that level as they mostly valued education and were willing to do the hard yards with research projects along with compressed teaching learning daily events during summer schools. I quickly weeded out those looking for an easy grade with little work. That’s a waste of time for teacher and student with that attitude. I could not teach High School judging by what I’ve seen so you are both brave and dedicated to the task. You obviously enjoy seeing students succeed in life after High School and its great to see that happen and have some who you’ve taught along the way contact you later and ask for your help in the administrative positions they now hold. So good to work with them later as a support rather than teacher. πŸ™‚

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  10. Love the video Cindy. I have a graduating senior (valedictorian this proud daddy might add) and it has been quite the experience. I really feel for the many things he has missed out on. Things you never get a second chance at experiencing. But he is doing great. Still planning on a graduation ceremony July 10th. I’m so proud even if this moment is a bit surreal.

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    • Congrats, Keith! Wow! And Valedictorian, too! That’s amazing. I assume he’s on to becoming something special. I wish him the best. He obviously had wonderful parents. πŸ˜‰

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      • He is going into chemical engineering. I know everyone says this about their kid, but he truly is a remarkable boy. I couldn’t ask for a better blessing. We are pretty excited to see where life takes him from here.

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  11. thank you for sharing these unsights into your self. it makes me appreciate you even more. the only thing i have learned from living in the deserted streets where the coronavirus reigns is that i had better hurry up and finish my third novel before i am dead. and if i work fast enough, i might even be able to complete cinema penitentuary part two. the dreadful difference between this virus and the other cooties that can lay you down is that with the others you may have a year or two to wrap things up. coronavirus gives you two weeks. this week one of my wifes assistants died and so did a former classmate from medical school. a common belief among those in the health care profession is that the coronavirus will not go away until there us a vaccine or until every last person on earth is infected.

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    • I have faith that a vaccine will be found within a year. It has hurt the globe in more ways than one. Since I live in a rural area, my lifestyle has not altered much. Those who live in cities, like you, have different, awful stories to tell. Bless Kelly and those she works with!

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        • IDK. I was semi-inspired with our Michael Caine chat. I’m thinking I’d like to wait and feature him in the winter when I do the annual classic actor whose work I know too little about feature. It’s summer. I was thinking of starting a female feature. I write too much about male actors and not women. Ugh. I’m still thinking. Ha! You will have to wait and see.

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          • you should check our ida lupino, one of the most important and interesting females un hollywood history..for her acting as well as directing. she also durected several episodes of the boris karloff hosted tv series thriller, which are available on youtube,

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          • It is a fine idea except I know nothing about her which would be hard to lead a discussion. Certainly a great choice for the near future.

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          • I discovered I have on-line work on the 13th and a flood of papers to grade from summer semester at the college I teach. Whatever I do for L13FC will have to be on the light side this month.

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          • then why dint you let me write an introductory piece on cinema versus home theatre and you can moderate the responses?

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  12. I enjoyed the video too Cindy it’s s nice message to impart to your students and nice to hear your voice after reading your words so much. I remember when I first saw a video of Roger Ebert I was like, that’s not how he sounded in my head. Now he does though. πŸ™‚

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  13. I’m an INFP (what does “B” stand for? I thought it was E or I). Anyhow, I wanted to be a professor too (I have great respect for educators like yourself). But after I finished my BA (European History), I decided I needed a break. I joined the military because I wanted to travel. The plan was to use the GI Bill to pursue my Master’s degree. Life had other plans for me. What’s destiny? I truly believe it is a combination of choices and luck. I no longer care about the details. The most important thing (to me) is that I ended up in a happy place. What more could we ask for? P.S. Love the video!

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