Who knows when this appeared in my inbox? It may have been years ago, yet it still provides food for thought:
What do you see?
If you see “opportunity is nowhere” then you are a pessimist.
If you see “opportunity is now here” then you are an optimist.
At university I was introduced to both rock climbing and squash – two forms of sport that had been unknown in my platteland world. Both opened wonderful opportunities for meeting a variety of people and forming lasting friendships.
Being confined to a small flat in a city with two young children to look after could have been difficult – until I teamed up with an NGO to write brief articles aimed at such children. This, albeit brief, experience whetted my appetite for writing and led to me co-editing a journal for a different NGO later on and producing a regular newsletter aimed at pre-school teachers for yet another NGO even later.
Teaching at pre-school level was never on my radar and yet, finding ourselves living in the middle of nowhere and wanting to give our children the best start in life within our means, that is what I did. I requalified as an ‘early childhood educator’ (a rose by any other name), helped set up an ‘early learning centre’ in our fledgling community and spent several happy years exploring the ways young children acquire language and learn through their environment.
That experience meant I was well-placed to take up a post with an NGO when our family was transplanted to the Eastern Cape. I trained pre-school workers / caregivers on farms and in poor communities, thus finding myself moving into Adult Education – a different ballgame.
All of these experiences stood me in good stead when I eventually returned to secondary school teaching – which in turn provided opportunities for different kinds of research, writing, proofreading, editing and even public speaking.
I am often asked if I miss the working world and ‘what do you do’, as if the idea of filling one’s days without the regimen of a well-defined work routine is beyond comprehension. ‘I am so busy’ is my standard response, ‘that I wonder how I ever fitted a job into my life.’
That is true. I must be the optimist who sees “opportunity is now here” for there is still so much to discover and so many things to do that I doubt I will ever reach the end.