Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013 Update

I told myself I'd give myself until Thanksgiving to write this post. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Not only does it bring about the promise of good food and (sometimes, if I can swing it) family, but the anticipation of Thanksgiving helps me keep in mind the humbling thought of gratitude for the blessings I have in my life.

Boy, are there a lot of blessings. Some of you remember the post I wrote over the summer in which I talked about realizing that I had had depression for the majority of my life, culminating in the mental and almost physical paralysis it cast over me this summer.

I'm still not sure how I managed to climb out of that seemingly bottomless hole, and I still don't like thinking back to those months and analyzing how un-human I felt. But I'm happy to say that, for me, medication helped tremendously. For the first time since I could remember, my brain stopped using most of its power to churn out insipid anxieties and started redirecting all that energy to activities that actually meant something to me. I was in shock the first day I completed all the items on my to-do list with energy and time to spare. I couldn't remember the last time I had been able to do that.

Even better things happened. In what was probably the best professional decision I made in my post-graduate life to date, I accept a job offer as Head Media Librarian at an academy in Seoul, South Korea. Even if you knew nothing about what I do for my job, doesn't my job title just sound like a delicious concoction of all the literacy- and education-related issues I have ever felt passionate about? And indeed it is. I'm helping to develop and run an experimental literacy program that's somewhere between a typical reading&writing classroom and a library. So basically my job entails reading children's/YA books and talking about them with kids in order to advance their creativity and critical thinking skills. Oh, and also I get to do projects that end up looking like this:

Oh yes, I consider myself very lucky for having an intellectually stimulating job where every day is a different challenge and a reward. And also that I get to read YA books and get paid for it... hah!

The upheavals in my life this year made me realize most sincerely the importance of having supportive loved ones in my life, and thus this year has also been for me a year of learning about how to make strong, lasting connections with people I care about. This isn't going to be an overnight fix because me and people is like "uh," but I truly have been trying my best to encourage valuable friendships both old and new. A side effect of taking antidepressants is that I have become much more extraverted: there are actually many times when I--gasp!--would rather hang out with people than be by myself! The shocker!

No, but in all seriousness, the changes I have gone through this year have made me fully aware of how blessed I am to have the loved ones I already have in my life, and my luck at finding so many new friends with whom I have so much in common, with whom I can find so much joy and inspiration.

That said, I'm not sure where this leaves me in terms of my blogging. I'd like to start again, writing about things I've noticed about teaching children's lit to young EFL kids, but it certainly won't be in the same capacity as it had been before. Instead of making any promises, then, I'll just leave you with this update on my life. Boy does it feel good to be able to write about happiness!


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