Delayed gratification. I’ve never been particularly good at it. I’ve been on edge for three days waiting for my CELTA grade & report and I’m on the verge of a breakdown. Not literally, maybe not even figuratively, but checking my email every few minutes is getting a bit tedious, almost reminiscent of waiting for Christmas morning as a youngster.
Seven hours after starting to write this post there’s still no sign of the eagerly anticipated email and, at seven thirty pm, it looks like we’re to wait another day. I appreciate people are busy, but it is a bit of a piss take to tell a group of people they’ll receive information tomorrow then fail to deliver. Some of the other trainees have been even more vociferous than I’ve been while playing the waiting game we’ve gone through together (particularly as no one’s been officially informed of whether they’ve passed or not).
Ok, so a further two hours later and the results are in. Just after 9.30pm I learned I’ve passed (with no merit or distinction, but a pass nonetheless) and I read my report with which I’m largely (but not entirely) in agreement.
It’s odd but I feel a bit deflated. I’m so used to doing well, and even on occasion excel, at things to which I set my mind – a pass seemed to be a bit of a let down. It’s not that I’m saying I deserved more, because quite frankly this time I don’t think I did. It doesn’t stop it from feeling a bit mediocre.
Ok. Satisfactory. Adequate. All words that I’m a bit allergic towards.
Ok, a bit more time has passed and I’m starting to chill out. I’m on record saying this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, so I should be happy with my pass. I’m going to make myself happy with this outcome. All I set out to do was pass and I’ve achieved my goal.
I’ve started wondering whether this attitude is symptomatic of how I treat myself. I must admit to liking high standards, particularly when they’re my own. I’m fond of saying we’re all of us our own worst taskmasters. I seem to take this a bit more literally than others. I’m also fond of reminding others not to overlook the good for the best; think it’s high time I started to practice what I preach.
So, I was correct in my assumptions that writing can be cathartic. I’ve moved from a state of passive aggressive angst to a much more balanced, relaxed place. All too often we (meaning either the ‘royal we’ or all of us — you decide) can overlook what’s good in pursuit of excellence. While it’s good I continue to challenge myself, I must also remember to recognise and celebrate achievements on the way. In my defence, I think part of the reason I’ve been so “meh” this week is my genuine desire to be a positive impact on others (in this case as a teacher) and needing to be as skilled as possible in pursuit of this ambition.
“The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.”
God, that sounded like I was just a bit too far up my own backside (which certainly wasn’t my intention) and I do hope I didn’t bore you too much recounting this personal journey. A friend (you know who you are) recently told me I had started out on my personal ‘road of trials’, a reference to Elizabeth Gilbert (her of “Eat, Pray, Love” fame); while I’m not for one second thinking I’m on my own version of the ‘Hero’s Journey’, I am beginning to suspect he may have had a point about life’s trials. I’ll finish with another favourite quote, this one from holocaust survivor and an outstanding example of humanity, Viktor Frankl.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
Viktor Emil Frankl (1905–1997)