Truthful Tuesday: Work to Live or Live to Work?

I have strong feelings about this week’s topic for Truthful Tuesday by PCGuyIV, so I have a lot to say to answer these questions, based on my own experience!

The old adage says, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Today’s questions stem from this bromide. Don’t worry if you aren’t currently working. The questions can easily be answered, and are likely better answered from a reflective standpoint.

  • Do you now or have you ever been employed doing what you love?
    The first 20 years of my working life, I worked in clerical positions, primarily in export shipping and freight forwarding. I didn’t love these jobs, but some were better than others. I enjoyed being able to use my skills, such as being able to use one of the two foreign languages I speak, and there were some other things I enjoyed, but usually I was somewhat bored and I felt I wasn’t really contributing anything meaningful to myself or society. That’s why I decided to change careers and become a teacher.

    I would say that I actually loved my job for about three years out of my entire working career. These lovely three years occurred primarily when I was teaching and I had the ideal working environment: my principal liked and supported me, I got along with co-workers and they respected my opinions, I was working with small groups of students that came to my classroom, and I was doing what I best at. Sometimes I would be at school preparing for the day, and as I wrote on the whiteboard the schedule for the day, I would have a feeling of exhilaration: there I was, writing the date in Spanish and English, something simple like that, because I was good at what I did and I loved using Spanish in my job as well as teaching English to Spanish speakers. This feeling of exhilaration would sometimes wash over me when I was sitting at a table working with three or four kids on reading. I felt like I was really making a difference, I was doing something to help those kids by teaching them to read! When I saw a child make progress in an area difficult to him or her, teaching was the best job in the world!

    During my three best years, I did projects with my students that were really enjoyable, and as long as I taught the curriculum and my lesson plans fit the standards, I could expand on it as I wished. I was great help and a good resource for the classroom teachers that my students were in. The kids felt comfortable with me because most of their day was spent in a classroom with native English speakers and that could be intimidating, even when they were competent in spoken, non-academic English. Although I did encourage them to do their work in the language of instruction, with me it was okay if they preferred writing in Spanish at first instead of English. I also tried to make connections between the two languages and we drew on their native culture whenever possible. I told all my students to be proud to be bilingual and not to give up their native language even if their academic work was mostly in English. I told them that being bilingual would help them get a better job in the future. (If I had not been what is considered bilingual, I doubt I would have ever gotten a teaching position in a public school system.) It was clear that I loved and respected their culture, and knew something about it.

    These feelings of contentment sometimes happened outside of those three years in which I was truly happy, but three years out of 12+ years of teaching is only 25% of the time – the teaching profession is brutal these days! The other years either I had a principal that didn’t support me or didn’t care, I had either too much to manage or too little control over what I did, and/or I felt that I wasn’t appreciated or respected by the administration or my colleagues. I was only a mediocre classroom teacher – there were too many things pulling on me, I had to keep track of more tasks and more kids than I could manage well. With small groups, especially when they came to me in my classroom that was set up for their needs and mine, I was a better teacher and happier too.

    But I have to say, when I was able to leave the profession and retire, I was very relieved and grateful. I hardly ever miss teaching.
  • Do you agree with this saying (If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life) or is it a bunch of poppycock, and why?
    Doing what you love is still work. Even those three ideal teaching years, I worked very hard – late nights planning and grading papers, early mornings preparing for the day, and I only allowed myself one day on the weekend to completely get away from my work. Ask the health care workers on the front line taking care of Covid-19 patients if they don’t consider what they are doing as work! Most people are not lucky enough to spend their working life doing what they love, and even when they do, it’s still a lot of responsibility. You can’t just take the day off because you want to. Sometimes you will be doing that part of your job that you love, when something you don’t enjoy so much imposes itself on you and you have to take care of it because that’s part of your job too. I don’t believe there is anyone on Earth who loves every minute of every day of their work – not even workaholics!

    In an ideal world, we would all work less hours, have more leisure time, and the work we did would be fulfilling and a contribution to society. We would be respected for our labors. However, living in a country which values work so much that there isn’t even a law requiring employers to give their workers vacation time, this adage has even less chance of ever becoming reality!
Teachers 2' Art Print - Kimberly Allen | Art.com | Teacher appreciation  quotes, Teacher quotes inspirational, Teacher appreciation week quotes

FOWC: Making Assumptions

The word for Fandango’s One Word Challenge today is assume

I think many of the conflicts we have with others, and the rifts between large swaths of society in the U.S. today, are due to the assumptions we make about each other. When we assume things about others, we create or reinforce stereotypes. Here are some examples: 

  1. “I assume he is a racist because he supports Trump.”

Although it is hard to understand why a person who is NOT racist would support Trump, there are many people like this. Perhaps for them, racism is not a central issue. I mean, there are even a few Blacks who support him (that I really cannot understand!). While we may think such people are stupid, ignorant, or supporting a president whose policies go against their own interests, it doesn’t necessarily follow that they are racist. Many Republicans hold their noses and put up with Trump because they want to stack the courts with conservative judges or they want abortion to be further restricted or outlawed altogether.

2. “She is college educated, graduated summa cum laude, top of her class. I assume she would never vote for Trump.”

Wrong again! Can you believe there are smart, college-educated women who vote for Trump? We assume the profile of a Trump voter is a person who is ignorant, not well-educated, racist, unintelligent, probably disgruntled white male. While many (perhaps a majority) Trump supporters may fit this profile, we should not assume all of them do.

3. “My son’s friends surely will vote this year! They didn’t in 2016 and look what happened. After living through four years of this moron, they’ll be willing to wait for hours in line just to vote him out of office.”

Once again, we should not assume that turn-out in November will be huge. We assumed Hillary Clinton was going to be elected in 2016, and look what happened. Part of the problem was low voter turn-out. I do not understand why citizens would not exercise their right to vote, one of our rights guaranteed by the Constitution. If Trump is re-elected again in 2024, we will most likely have fewer rights than we have now. Our democracy is already flawed; four more years of this corruption and ineptitude would put democracy on very precarious footing. 

However, the mid-term elections of 2018 did have a record high turn-out, causing speculation among liberals that this was an indictment of the Trump administration. And aren’t there millions of young people eligible to vote for the first time registering? What about the kids who were passionate to end mass shootings? What about all the American counterparts of Greta Thunberg? Climate change is an existential threat, and so is Trump.

I can tell these things to people until I’m blue in the face, but it doesn’t guarantee they will get their asses off their couches and go to the polls on a nasty cold November day. If we assume that people are going to vote according to their interests, we will also be disappointed. People vote against their interests all the time, whether they know they are doing so or not. Voting is not an objective process – it is most often quite subjective. People vote according to what they feel, not necessarily based on knowledge or facts.

Bob Englehart / Cagle Cartoons

And looking at this from the other side, what do Trump supporters assume about liberal Democrats?

Don’t assume we are all left-wing or socialists. Some of us are, but most are not.
Don’t assume that when we protest, we encourage violence. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Don’t assume we want to allow anyone to come into this country, including criminals, drug pushers, and rapists. We simply want an immigration system that is humane and respectful to those who seek asylum.
Don’t assume we are all in on some insidious plot to ultimately overthrow the U.S. government.
Don’t assume we all want to take away all your guns. 
Don’t assume we want to encourage voter fraud by allowing people to vote by mail. 
Don’t assume we want to “discriminate” against white people. I am white, why would I want that? We just embrace the ethnic diversity that our country has undeniably become.

I think most assumptions we make about “the other side” are based on our own biases and often are “projections” (saying that ‘the other side’ is doing whatever nefarious deeds that in fact your own leaders are doing). 

What we need to do, instead of pushing people away by making assumptions about them, is to communicate with each other. Engage in a dialogue. We will certainly not always agree, and probably won’t change others’ minds about most things, but we can at least understand each other. We may even end up liking each other, sometimes.

10 Favorite Feelings

I found this challenge on Melanie B. Cee’s (sparksfromacombustiblemind) blog and it struck me as interesting. This challenge comes originally from Xandria, a blogger I didn’t know before. 10 favorite feelings? Could I really find so many favorite feelings? (That is, not feelings I have that I don’t like, but ones I love to have.) When I started writing them down, I found that I could name MORE than 10 and barely had room on the post-it note for them all to fit!

“Feelings” can be interpreted in different ways, as I saw reading some of the participants’ posts for this challenge. I am going to use emotions as my basis for writing this. My blog’s name, Wanderlust and Wonderment, are two of the feelings I love most! But I will name 10 more here.

  • 1. gratitude:  I feel grateful for all I have – a good family, a nice place to live, the opportunity to travel and explore my interests. I try to stop for a moment every day, at least once, to appreciate the good things in my life.
  • 2. anticipation: Whenever we decide to go on a trip – planning, envisioning what it will be like, the places we’ll go, packing, on the airplane taking us to our destination. One of the best things about traveling is anticipating it before it happens!
  • 3. fascination: I am fascinated by many things, sometimes things I never thought I would have any interest in. When I travel, many things fascinate me: the swans who swim close to the cruise ship, the distinctive architecture of a place, the way wines are made, the meaning of hieroglyphics, etc. There is so much to learn and absorb in this world!
  • 4. awe: I enjoy reveling in the miracle of things large and small. I feel awe standing in the cathedral in Cologne, Germany, and I also feel awe watching nature unfold in my garden – watching the shoots of the first leaves push up out of the ground, the growth – getting taller and fuller, the buds that appear, and then the flower that opens up to the world. I feel awe at how that flower propagates, the delicate wings of a butterfly, how nature always repeats its cycle, no matter what humans are doing in the meantime.  Awe at the animals – so close – on safari. Twice I have visited places where my ancestors lived – I mean, the actual land or the actual house they lived in. I felt awe to be standing in the same place my 3-greats grandmother stood.
The awe of seeing a giraffe close up in its natural environment. Giraffes are truly awesome!
  • 5. relief: The feeling that washes over me after I’ve been worried about something or someone, when it turns out to be okay. I worry especially about my son, who struggles with many things in life. I call him, he doesn’t answer, so I leave a message which he doesn’t reply to; I send him a text to find out if he is all right…and finally I receive a reply, “Don’t worry, Mom! I’m okay!”
  • 6. love: I fall in love all the time – not just with a romantic partner. I love my cat, and feel this love whenever I look at her sweet, beautiful face staring at me. I love places I visit. I fall in love with countries. Also, yes, the “new love” feeling I had when I met my husband-to-be and realized he’s the one! When you’re in love, the whole world seems beautiful!
  • 7. saudade: This is a Portuguese word that means “sweet sorrow” (when you have to leave someone or some place that you know you will miss dearly), longing, sort of nostalgia, but also the feeling you have when you look at someone or something that you’ve been waiting to see and here it is in front of you. Saudade is often translated as nostalgia, but it’s more than that. I think “sweet sorrow” is a better translation. The word comes from the time of slavery in Brazil, when the slaves were brought over to that country and what they felt when they thought about their homeland.  It’s what anyone feels when they are forced to leave the place they belong and the longing for home.  It’s not just nostalgia because you can feel saudade for a person, a place, a thing, even when you are with them!
  • 8. accomplishment: I think there is no better way to feel good about yourself as when you have a feeling of accomplishment. Accomplishment upon finishing a really well-written term paper; or admiring a drawing I just completed and it looks exactly as I want it to be; accomplishment when finally understanding a difficult concept. Anyone can say to you, “you are wonderful, you are smart” or whatever, but when you accomplish something yourself, then you know you can be proud of yourself.
  • 9. absorption: What I feel when I am totally engrossed in a book that I really like. I don’t want anyone to tear me away from it! I also get absorbed in writing my blog, making a photo album, drawing an intricate picture. I feel kind of dizzy and disoriented when I have to leave whatever I’m absorbed in!
  • 10. excitement: the rush I feel when I am traveling and come to the realization, for example, OMG, I’m really in PARIS! Or, excitement while looking at ancient Egyptian monuments that have survived for 3500+ years! 
It was exciting to be among these monumental pillars in Karnak, Egypt.

CFFC: Red

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is the color RED.  These red items are mostly from my travels. Excerpts from my color essay on red are included.

Red says, “Look at me!” And we do because red stands out.

Many flowers are red – tulips, roses, dahlias and many others can be red – maybe these beautiful flowers are why some people choose red as their favorite color.

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Zinnia in Arlington Heights, IL

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Dahlia in Tacoma, WA

Wearing red clothes makes a person stand out.

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A friend arriving at Tel Aviv airport, Israel

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My brother-in-law’s barbershop quartet doing their annual “singing Valentines” – this one was for my sister at the Moorings.

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Me sitting in a tall red chair at our hotel in Tiberias, Israel

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Whimsical glass figure made by a child, on display at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

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Red building in Poulsbo, WA

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Facade of a church in Nurmberg, Germany

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Famous cafe in the Jewish district – Budapest, Hungary

 

Some very delicious fruits are red – tart apples, succulent raspberries and yummy strawberries. Red tomatoes and red peppers are good and juicy too. But watch out! Red peppers can be HOT.

Raspberries & peppers in community garden, the Moorings, Arlington Heights
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Sign in front of a winery, Miltenberg, Germany

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Omaha Beach memorial, Normandy, France

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Cake served on our river cruise ship, Viking Sigyn, on the 4th of July

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Helio Oiticica (Brazilian artist) exhibit at the Art Institute, Chicago, IL

Speaking of hearts, we normally think of hearts as red. We give each other cards on Valentine’s Day with red or pink hearts.

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Dale’s Valentine to me on Valentine’s Day 2019. 

And by the way, Dale’s birthday is Valentine’s Day!

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Dale celebrates his Valentine birthday with a dessert of flan and a margarita, Mexico Restaurant, Des Plaines, IL