Sometimes in life we make big, daring choices. We dream big dreams. We ride the very crest of our own learning curve, pushing ourselves and maybe those around us a little in the process. Like a surfer balanced on the tip edge of a wave, using only luck, skill and practice to keep afloat and not get swallowed up, we lean into this gift we have to live.
The Dutch Caribbean experience I embarked on was a little like this. Challenging myself with Montessori curriculum and method I hadn’t previously used and was still learning, taking on an age group in a way that I hadn’t previously, going to a new country, a new school, a new culture, a new job and bringing my amazing 9-year old along for the ride, leaving family and network of people and coping tools back home was the crest of the wave for me. Even if everything went as smoothly as could be, it still would be a leading tip of the wave challenge. I was ready, all in. A racehorse at the gate. I understood each area that I would be learning. The school, the staff, the kids, the families were all kind and supportive. My daughter was brave and courageous every day. My husband worked hard to support me in this foray, and my family too. I knew it would be hard, I knew that it was a challenge up.
What could go wrong?
Using the metaphor of backpacking, I carried an unusually heavy pack of learning. Additionally I had people following behind me, relying on my lead. Understanding that, I was ready and met that challenge. I had agreed to one high challenge experience, and was given an even more challenging one. At my peak level of challenge, I was given a challenge I would never have chosen with a crew of 30 following behind… all while watching my support network slowly step backward. I can give only this pixelated view because it is sensitive. Each time I evaluate what happened, I come up only with no regrets for any of it, grief that the situation ended as it did, but not regrets.
The challenge had been chosen carefully, and I knew the limits of my own capacity. At a certain point, it became clear that the additional weight I was handed was beyond reasonableness. It wasn’t just me hitting the bumps on my tuccus, my husband would grow weary of being leaned on, my daughter would deal with me shutting down each evening or watching me struggle as I coped without my usual support networks, the children would receive a teacher that was unable to bring her best because so much of my energy would be spent dodging attacks or coping with trail slides. I bit off as much as I could chew and then more was heaped on my plate.
It is no news to those who know me: resilient yes, also a soft heart. I have made choices that work with my strengths. There are no regrets.
This morning I received tandem emails: one that slammed a door shut and another expressing encouragement, support and positivity.
For my choices, they were well-considered. I have no regrets.