Pay Attention In Class

3005147-poster-1960-caught-stress-spiral-innovate-your-day-8-minutes-ready-set-pauseYou can’t stop the future
You can’t rewind the past
The only way to learn the secret
…is to press play.
From “Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Clearly I recall being in fourth grade dreading the possibility of being in Miss Pittman’s fifth grade class the following year. She was said to be mean, quick tempered and fast to punish students. Knowing she was going to my teacher the next year set me to start playing the anxiety game a half year early.

Actually there were lots of variables that never occurred to a ten year-old boy. The teacher might retire; she might be replaced; she might change jobs; she might start teaching a different grade or maybe she was different that student gossip portrayed. But no other possibility occurred to me except I was going to be in Miss Pittman’s class and she was going to be mean to me. Looking back I can see how my fear seemed to give the future clarity because I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen.

Today I realize taking my fears with a ‘grain of salt’ is always prudent. If the dismal scenarios I frequently think up actually came true it would mean I could predict the future, which of course I can’t (otherwise I would have already won the lottery many times!).

People were always getting ready for tomorrow.
I didn’t believe in that.
Tomorrow wasn’t getting ready for them.
It didn’t even know they were there.
From “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy

I ended up in Miss Pittman’s class just like I dreaded I would, but my experience was NOT what I thought it would be. She was stern and allowed no cutting up in class, but she was a good teacher. Her tendency was to favor the “good students”, which I was one of. Consequently, I ended up doing well, learned a lot and still have respect her to this day. She encouraged my love of reading and the sciences; both of which are very much alive even today. Having Miss Pittman as a 5th grade teacher is one of my earliest lessons about my proven inability to predict the future.

I still try to play fortune teller at times, but the future so rarely turns out the way I predict you’d think I would have completely learned better by now. What is different these days is usually I catch my “future tripping” early on before it ‘snowballs’. I am grateful for insights learned the hard way that improve my life. All I have to do is “pay attention in class”.

It’s being here now that’s important.
There’s no past and there’s no future.
Time is a very misleading thing.
All there is ever, is the now.
We can gain experience from the past,
but we can’t relive it;
and we can hope for the future,
but we don’t know if there is one.
George Harrison

About James Browning

A seeker working to grow each day and be a better version of my self. Through sharing I commit myself deeper to my ideals and beliefs.
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