Why Bother To Anticipate?

Why Bother To Anticipate?

None of us can predict our futures. And though we anticipate good things ahead for our lives, sometimes we are taken aback by how long we have to wait for those good plans to come to fruition. Our delayed ambitions are not easy to live with. They make us restless and hopeful, impatient and patient, all at the same time. To anticipate the future and wait for it at the same time is to live in a healthy tension, one that keeps us alert, attentive and ready, all at the same time.

  Good Plans

Growing up, I did not have any specific career plans, but once I was an adult, I fell in love and married. Parenting became my full-time job until my sons were grown and on their own, then I knew it was time for me to step into the workforce.  With my limited work experience, and a husband who supported my ideas even when they seemed only half baked, I decided finishing my education to be the first step of business. Returning to school as an older student had its benefits; I was not easily distracted. My focus was to complete my bachelor’s as quickly as possible. The two years were well spent and I crossed the stage with the rest of my classmates to recieve my diploma. With a four year degree under my belt, job opportunities were a little more abundant. I interviewed with the school district and became a paraprofessional, otherwise known as a teacher’s aid, at the junior high. 

Though I have friends who find great satisfaction as parapros, I knew after a short amount of time that I would not find contentment in the work. Working one-on-one or with small groups of students was not challenging enough for me and I found it boring. I knew I needed to be in charge of a classroom if I wanted to be happy in the workforce. So, I returned once again to school and two years later, walked across the stage, this time to receive my teaching certificate. 

Paraprofessional jobs were easier to find than teaching positions and for another year I remained a teacher’s aide and substitute, sometimes even doubting my choice to become  a teacher. At my age, I wondered if I even had a chance at a teaching job. Finally though, I got a call for an interview. It was not in my district, but I was willing to travel if it meant having my own classroom. 

For four years, I commuted out of district to a rural middle school and taught 6th grade English Language Arts. Those four years of traveling sixty miles a day were a practice in waiting. Every year, I applied for jobs in my district, and waited with patience. Though I enjoyed my job and my own classroom, I knew I did not want to make the commute for the rest of my career. Then finally, after my fourth year of teaching out of district, I had an interview with a rural school in my district and landed the job.

I had anticipated working in my district someday and that day finally arrived. Having the new job ended my sixty miles a day commute. Having the job I’d always anticipated ended my period of waiting. 

Why bother to anticipate? It is worth it to anticipate what it is we are waiting for. Though we do not know how long our wait will be, our patience has the opportunity to grow in the interim.

Why Bother Waiting?




Why Bother Waiting?

The summer I graduated from high school, 1976, I visited my sister Beth and her husband, Rolf, who lived in Salt Lake City. Rolf, who owned more than one 35mm camera plus every accessory, introduced me to looking at life through the viewfinder of a camera. Narrowing my vision down to one small frame at a time made sense to life.  

Arriving back home, I shopped for my own camera and signed up for a photography class through the recreation department. I met weekly with a small group of people in the cold dark basement of the recreation center. There, I learned new vocabulary, the parts of a camera and most importantly, how to focus my lens on my subject. 

After six weeks, the class ended and I signed up for part two; developing black and white film. 

The first time I stepped inside the darkroom in the basement of the recreation center, my nose burned from the smell of chemicals. But as the instructor took us through the steps of developing a roll of film and printing pictures, I was enthralled with the magic of it. 

Wanting my own darkroom equipment, I scanned newspapers and found an ancient, but affordable printer, trays and film canisters. But, I had no darkroom. Keeping my supplies in my bedroom closet, I waited and finally found one, in Idaho. 

In the fall of 1976, I packed my Volkswagen, and joined a caravan of friends and two older siblings driving west to a tiny town near the border of Canada. Having turned 18, I knew it was time to leave home, even without having a plan for my future. 

The house, or rather shack, we rented, had enough room in the kitchen, that when no one else was home, I turned into my darkroom. During the day I shot black and white film of everything around me, the frozen tundra of the lake I lived on, ice fishermen nipping from their flasks of whiskey, or men of the wild west. Taking pictures and developing them made me happy, but not rich.

I kept my camera, but sold my developing equipment. I continued to take pictures, but used color film, taking it to a professional developer. When I fell in love, married and had children, I filled photo albums with pictures of my sons, recording their history of babyhood, toddler years, teenage proms, graduations and vacations. My hobby turned into an affordable habit.

Then, whenever birthdays were celebrated or a future fiancé was introduced, the photo albums naturally came off the shelf. Sitting on the floor in front of the bookshelf became the place to reminisce and tell one’s history.  

I still own my camera, I still take pictures and put them into photo albums, now for my grandchildren. They used to ask, 

“Grandma, can I see the picture.”

“You can, after it’s developed.”

Now they know. My pictures are not instant. They will have to wait. Why bother waiting? Because recording and printing history to put into someone’s hands takes time. But, it is worth the wait.