Both the best and worst thing about Facebook’s “On This Day” feature is the feelings that the throwback procures. “Where was I and what in the world was I thinking,” passes through my mind most days when I stumble across all kinds of vague, passive-aggressive remarks that, I’m sure, seemed so important at the time. I flip through this day in my personal history and I can’t help but chuckle at some of the thoughts that crossed my mind, the witticisms I was inspired to share.
And then there are the times I find something special. Time when I knew, at the exact moment of posting, that I’d experienced something momentous. Down the road, the power of hindsight has only served to confirm my initial thoughts: two years ago, I witnessed and journaled about something special – a turning point that altered my life.
Two years ago, I was finishing up my final year of the standard two-year Teach for America contract in inner-city Miami, Florida. I was teaching 10th-12th graders how to read (in order to pass their state exam,) I was working with seniors to get their ACT and SAT scores up so that they could graduate, I was instructing 10th graders on the joys of film (utilizing a curriculum that I composed entirely on my own), and I was volunteering my free period to work with the dance classes before their final performance of the year.
I wasn’t happy.
In fact, I was miserable while I was teaching. On top of my anxiety regarding my students not performing at the level they needed to perform at, I was also battling the fact that I had no clue what was next. It was the end of my contract. It never even reached the point where I was offered another contract. I, and everyone around me, knew that I was putting Miami in the rear-view mirror and never looking back. I subscribed to the lyrics, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”
To cope, I escaped on the weekends. I frequented several movie theaters where I would see three or four movies consecutively.
It was on one of these excursions that I chanced upon a screening of Jon Favreau’s Chef.
I left the theater in a haze. I was so inspired by the story (both on the screen and from dialogue about Favreau’s reason for making the film) that I wrote a post with my thoughts on Facebook (they have since been transferred to my personal blog so that I can return to them before next year’s “On This Day.”)
Fast forward two years.
With much due consideration to my current status in society, given my age, stage of life, and financial situation, I have decided to leave my position as a corporate trainer and begin anew. In September, I will be moving to London to study for a Master’s in Film, Television, and Screen Media at Birkbeck – University of London. My passion for film, television, and all-around fandom culture has been a behind-the-scenes driving force in my life for several years without my knowledge. It wasn’t until recently that I reached the conclusion that I should do something about it.
So I am.
Yesterday, flipping through my “On This Day,” I stumbled upon that review of Chef and realized that how I felt then is no different than how I feel now.
Energized by the moral of the story, I’m striving forward with a sense of purpose, taking inspiration from both Favreau and Chef Casper, going back to the basics (school) and rebuilding myself into a happier and more wholesome being.
That journey for me begins in London.
Who knows where it will go, but I’m certain the experience will be the trip of a lifetime.