I was late for picture day

It was just a few months ago: I would not stop telling everybody how excited I was and that it had been three years since last time I had studied Chinese in the university. Today, it’s been a few days since my classmates graduated. Today, it’s been just a few weeks ago since I stopped being excited about it, it’s been some time since I decided to stop going to classes.

I was late for picture day; I did not form part of that ritual that immortalizes the once existence of a class. I have the feeling that it was then when I finally understood that I was not finishing the semester. But why, what happened during the course of the semester that drained all that excitement away and left me with nothing but an empty feeling of unfinished business?

This is how they looked at the graduation ceremony.

In the beginning, like always, I was one of the best students; I’d know all the answers and learn faster than anyone else in the room. Then, weeks passed and I was late for class once, then twice in a week; soon enough I would not see the beginning of a class in a month or two.

And it’s not like I consider Chinese to be difficult anymore; I have already been to all the stages of learning this language and from where I stand it should only be moving forward at a stable pace. I love learning languages and Mandarin is one that I have particularly fallen in love with. I would love to see the day I have read several books in Chinese and have even written a few interesting pieces in ideograms. But still, I arrived five minutes after they had taken the picture and I knew, I was done with the course.

The truth is I had not made the right decision, or any decision. When I said that I was excited about going back to school to learn Chinese, I was just excited about the fantasy of it, the romantic idea of spending those hours in front of those alien characters to turn them into benign, known allies. I never did want to do it, I never made a decision that translated into commitment.

I never really wanted to be there, I just let the idea of enrolling in a class take control of my future; I should have known that without a decision or the responsibility of not making a real decision I was just going to be driven away by the current, and that current eroded my smile a little more every morning with every class. It’s no one’s fault but mine. My classmates achieved the goals they set at the beginning and I am here, thinking I could at least have been on time for picture day.

I photoshoped myself in there.

Lesson learned?

Take full responsibility for my decisions. Never expect that an empty decision like enrolling in a class will make a difference in my life if I don’t make the change happen first.

Things won’t take me anywhere; I have to create those places I want to be.

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