Wednesday, April 20, 2022

mantras of discernment

When I told JG that At was taking a gap year, she told me it was a good thing--"a time of discernment" is how she phrased it. And it helped me so much--I would it mutter this mantra to myself when other people like Big A or my mom were frustrated by At's plans. 

A few weeks ago a friend's kid said something disrespectful about At's job. We don't disparage people based on their jobs in our family, so I was really taken aback. And then I was really sad about it for a while--At is a kind, funny, and brilliant person and the comment made me see that none of that would matter to some people. When I shared this with Nu, Nu gave me the best mantra of all: "That's not on him! That's on them!"

"That's on them!" is the perfect riposte to so many things now. I'm sure that At's decision to postpone grad school is scary for me because of my immigrant trust in education--where would I be without my degrees? But as my Nu taught me, that's on me

I had a long car ride with At as we were out on an errand yesterday, and I have so much clarity about what he's doing and I think he's absolutely making the decisions that work for him right now.

Pic: Early morning hike with L at Baker Woods.

3 comments:

Nicole said...

This resonates with me so much, Maya, and I'm so happy you posted. My oldest is going to take a gap year next year and I've fielded so many "what is he going to do?" questions. Life is a long journey, and a gap year is a good time for learning! Thanks for this great post. xo

StephLove said...

North wanted to graduate high school in 3 years and then take a gap year, and we said no to the first part because while it was technically possible with just a little summer school, we didn't think cramming in all their requirements with little room for electives would be good for their mental health. Also, we were afraid that even if they found a part-time job, they'd spend the gap year largely in bed, like they did during their 9th grade remote school year and that was definitely not good for their physical or mental health. I'm not sure if they still want the gap year. They're only in 10th grade, so we'll see.

maya said...

StephLove, FWIW--a gap year has been good for At's mental health, sense of self, maturity, and all of that. Also, unlike young North, he's 22, so it's not like I can do anything except suggest things :).

Nicole--"Life is a long journey" might be another mantra I add to the rotation. Also, we've been in a pandemic for, three years, and if people want to take a year off--I'm for it. I also thought about the Gibran piece a lot: https://poets.org/poem/children-1

simply

A cold day, but beautiful.  Walks with some of my favorite people: L, Big A,  me... Pic: An icy Red Cedar River