When I taught in the traditional classroom I would save ten minutes of class time for an activity I called “Current Perspectives.” Surprisingly, students would arrive to my classroom twenty minutes early to debate hot topics. These topics ranged from themes about relational challenges, ethical dilemmas, communication conflict, and case scenarios of current events. “What is the purpose of giving a speech if you are not committed to it?”, I would ask. This can be the same rationale when viewing the contentment we may or may not have in our lives. Why stay in levels of stagnation if there is no fulfillment in completing the task at hand? This is not to be confused with having discipline to complete particular functions of a job. Today I was working on my forthcoming book, Tomorrow Can’t Wait, and realized the prevalence of truth that needs to be expressed through finding our life meaning in the essence of all activities we partake in on a personal and professional level.

In an earlier blog post I highlighted the role that Abraham Maslow had in coining the ideas of self-actualization. With this in mind, we all will need to have cornerstone moments to continually propel us forward. Edward Hoffman, Susan Keneshiro and William Compton discussed the importance of using life milestones to transcend into more purposeful introspection. In the article entitled, “Peak-Experiences Among Americans in Midlife,” the authors discuss the need for meaningful engagement.

In addition to this, Hoffman, Keneshiro and Compton, mentioned the usefulness of nostalgic moments. An illustration of this was explained by mentioning the impact that travel could have in building the propensity within individuals to create new goals. The idea that one can gain new perspective from experiences of travel is noteworthy.

 I still remember traveling to Gabon (Central Africa) and realizing how timid the vast waters made me feel. There was so much to take in. The air, the scent, the trees, fish, the calm forests and natural sounds of birds, bees, mosquitos (I had a lot of repellent) and culture. My awakening was the beauty of the world. In that moment I realized the beauty and possibilities of exploration. In addition to this, everything was in French. The ads, television commercials, restaurant menus, and signs for pedestrians. It is one thing to learn this from a book, but another experience to live in the culture of an extended period of time.

The sun was so warm that it caressed me to sleep in the day time. I can remember having lunch with family and falling asleep at the table as though it were ten pm! What consolation the sun and water brought to me. Interestingly, it also was the first time I realized how American I really was.  After the second week I wanted to yell, “Speak to me in English!”  Culture shock had definitely set in. I began to forget the textbook vernacular for staying diplomatic in my shock of being so far from home.

With time I allowed, “Bonjour,” to roll off of my tongue in greeting friends and family as though the following sentences would be as fluent. I would peer into the eyes of the French speaking community and hope that my non-verbal gestures would indicate warmth, awareness and familiarity of the human experience.

My Boat Experience

To Be Continued

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