In the middle of my long bus ride for the morning heading towards the Hemispheres Foundation office (to collect documents for our Vietnam trip coming in a couple of days), the torrential, merciless storm has faded into a drizzle—one that dots the windows of this double decker bus with consistent tiny droplets. The air-conditioning is slightly colder than usual, possibly due to the emptiness of the vehicle; and my hands are cold as I type.
Friends of mine would vouch for my love for history as a subject, but as my play list shuffles to the French sound tracks amongst others, I am reminded of a lesson I learned from secondary school that is reason why we should forget our past. Here goes:
In secondary school, for four long years, I had attended French classes in MOELC weekly (or whenever I could). In the beginning, I had a strong interest in the language, a curiosity that constantly brought me through the distance every week to get to class after a long day of school. At first, there was an undeniable amount of satisfaction from every new word learned, new sentence formed. It was the foundation to my interest in France as a whole—the culture, people, food, festivals, just to name a few. Into the third and fourth year, this was all changing. It was a mix of OM in school becoming the only thing that occupied my thoughts in every moment and the pace at which the French teacher fluently delivered lessons that made every French lesson a fight in my head between staying awake and granting myself the teeny bit of rest I needed for my exhausted self to take a breather.
But from the end of Year 2, with a GPA of 0.8 for French and my form teacher persuading me to drop the subject; the one thing that stopped me from printing the withdrawal form and submitting it was that ‘I had already done it for x years’: the constant reminder that I had already invested this much time in the past to the lessons, homework and studying made me hang in there for more time that I probably should have. Sometimes I think about how different it might’ve been if I had left French from the third year onwards—what would I have done with the ‘extra time’ this decision might have given me or how different I might have felt everyday without this extra commitment to be thinking about. I’ll never have the answer to that, and I wouldn’t harp on these meaningless What Ifs for too long; but on hindsight, I realize that the reason I had justified my decision to stay on with was silly because doing something I no longer reaped satisfaction from for the one reason: that I had been doing it for a while; was as good a reason as having to continue doing something you no longer enjoyed just because you once did it.
As I enter the last month of the year, during my traditional reflection of commitments and rearrangement of what’s on my plate, or what I should take off from the plate– it would be useful to keep this lesson in mind.