This year I made the decision to move to the United States with my family. We have never before lived in the United States. For the last fifteen years we have been an international teaching family, first in Tanzania and currently in Oman. But life circumstances have accumulated, the years have played out like they inexorably do, and after a great deal of thought, worry, fear, concern, even despair, I accepted that we were moving. Change is difficult, and can so easily be governed by fear. And for a long time that is where my mind was.

Some time passed since this decision was made, and in that time I had a chance to think. I also had the chance to talk to family, friends, colleagues, fellow administrators, and professionals from other fields with whom I have worked in the past. Somewhere in that time, in the midst of that thinking and talking and reflecting and wondering, something shifted. I can not pinpoint when or why things in my head shifted. And that is making me crazy, because I want to capture that moment. It was an important moment. It was a moment that I value, that I want to understand better.

How did my perspective shift?

How did my perspective shift? The picture that I was painting for myself, the picture of my future, changed. I dared to imagine that future in a different way. I no longer dwelled on the dark vision that I had entertained for months as I contemplated a return to a pandemic stricken country where a teacher struggles to make ends meet at the very best of times. Instead I began to allow myself to be driven by a different part of me, by the more hopeful, creative, keen, hungry and motivated part of me. That is who I allowed to take the reins. I fully realize that I could still end up in a difficult spot. Repatriation after 15 years away (and with two children) is almost guaranteed to hold some very difficult moments. But I am not afraid. I am aware, and I am preparing myself for the difficult challenges, as well as the exciting challenges. I am prepared to grow. I am ready to learn more about myself and my future.

The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding. What next year will look like for me professionally as well as personally does not depend solely on the vision that I hold in my mind. It depends on how I work to shape that vision, it depends on what I do to prepare myself to facilitate that vision, and it also depends on factors that are out of my control.

But my biggest realization in all of this is that as I work to shape that vision, that vision is shaping me. And for me this is the jewel in the crown. How I see my future is shaping the decisions that I am making, it is giving me the drive to learn and prepare, and it is painting the days ahead in a different light. My future is in my hands.
 

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