After Ira’s horrific ski accident, I was faced with one of the biggest decisions of my life. Should I follow through with my obligation to teach at a notable international school in Bangalore, India or stay in Colorado? Ira needed me. It was unclear when he would be returning to India and whether the terms of his employment were changing. If he was going to spend approximately half of his time in India, I felt that I should live abroad.
- Did I want to go back to India?
I was conflicted. To separate the strands of my confusion, I talked with many people. Almost everyone, except for our son, Josh, (who lives in India) felt that Ira and I were insane to even consider it. Why would two middle-aged affluent Americans choose to relocate to a Third World country? Were our friends and family right? I couldn’t forget the auto rickshaw driver’s remarks during my first trip- “Why would any American want to work in India?” Despite all of these negative comments, I could not let go of the possibility of an international teaching adventure.
In May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, I write about one of these conversations.
One memorable conversation was with Caroline, one of the two readers of my graduate-school comprehension exam. She had had a well rounded career, first as a secondary English teacher, then as a primary teacher, and later as a college instructor teaching literacy. Since graduation, I had repeatedly called upon her for advice. After I described Ira’s situation and my job offer, she helped me sort through my feelings. Without any hesitation, she asked, “Why do you want to teach in India?”
“I’m not sure,” I meekly replied.
“You sound so uncertain. It’s unlike you.”
I shot back a staccato reply. “Ira’s accident…living without him…there are too many unknown factors. It’s downright scary.”
“Why, then, are you considering this job?” Caroline prodded.
“I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to teach at that school.It’s something that someone half my age would do. Maybe I’m having a midlife crisis. Am I looking to reclaim my youth? I don’t know.”
“Your voice sounds energized even though you have major reservations.”
“Yeah, I don’t understand it. I can think of so many reasons to walk away, but something deep inside echoes: just do it!”
Caroline probed further. “But will you be able to cope? A month or more without your husband is a long time.”
“If I stay in the United States, I might be seeing him less.”
“Trust me, living without your husband won’t be easy, but regretting a missed opportunity is hard to swallow.”
“I know. No matter what I choose, I’ll have to find peace with my decision.”
In order to find peace with my decision, I had to rely on my judgment. I could listen to others, but my inner voice had to prevail. In the end, I needed to weigh all of the known facts and decide what was best for me. Rarely does one have a complete picture of all of the possible scenarios. Life is filled with unforeseen events. Oftentimes decisions are made that we might regret later because something unexpected happens. Since I could not predict the future, I had to analyze my situation based on my present set of circumstances.
Each time I thought about staying in the US, something deep inside whispered, “If you don’t go, you’ll regret it.” When I considered India, my apprehensions mounted. After intense deliberation, I decided to send back my teaching contract. The clock started to tick. I was just weeks away from my departure date.
- Can you share a strategy for making tough decisions?
Coping With the Uncertainties of Life (Response to Terrorist Bombings)
Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon. Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons. The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and received an Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.