A Life in Flux

A life in flux is something that I truly believe that many of us have experienced over the past several years.  At times, it can appear that, daily, life has—once again—changed in inexplicable ways.  However, for those of us whose entire life has been marked by extreme change and forward motion, I believe that we may, occasionally, experience a sense of calm, well versed in handling life’s unease and uncertainty.

I can confidently say this for myself, in particular.

Every so often, these changes in life can be life-altering, such as loss, grief, trauma, illness, pandemics, and war.  These constant shifts can also be small, but, nonetheless, significant, such as a move.

Moving can be an extremely stressful time for some, avoided until absolutely necessary, while for others, it can signal a fresh start and the beginning of a new chapter.  I have moved countless times since birth: first crossing continents and the ocean as a child to migrate to Toronto, where I spent the majority of my childhood and youth.  Barely out of my teens, I moved countless times, crisscrossing the country several times, settling in various provinces, namely Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.  In later years, I found myself in Argentina and Guatemala for periods of time, before travelling to the homeland for visits in Eastern Europe.  In the meantime, in between international journeys, I found myself moving from city to city, town to town, village to village throughout Canada.  Most recently, I have moved to northern Mexico, a place that had long won my heart.

From past moves as a child to more recent moves of my own volition, I do not know where life will take me next, but I know I look forward to the change and even, the times of loneliness and instability, it can surely bring.

In the midst of these unpredictable life events and moves, the one constant in life has been my AU journey.  Over the years, I have taken my textbooks and written exams and assignments throughout Canada, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Today, I find myself in northern Mexico, near the end of my AU journey, unsure of what tomorrow will bring.

At times, it may seem that we cannot apply academia’s theoretical teachings to the chaos of the real world and our personal lives.  However, taking a step back makes one realize that each and every course plays a role in life.  In addition to my previous studies, my SPAN courses have aided me on this journey in my communications and writing skills.  My minor in POLI SCI has helped me understand the political and economic systems, intertwined with historical events.  My ENGL major has helped me secure freelance work (and to be able to better write for The Voice).  In addition, each and every elective taken for general interest, such as SOCI, has helped shape who I am today.

We all come to AU for various reasons.  For myself, work commitments, chronic illness, and disability first brought me to AU, after a long break from education.  I had been convinced that the inaccessibility of post-secondary education meant that my dream of a degree was no longer in reach.  During the course of these studies, my life has changed dramatically several times, including periods of intense grief and loss, chaotic world events that have personally affected me, the ongoing pandemic, and the ubiquitous moves.  However, the one thing that has allowed me a semblance of stability, in the midst of all this ever-present change, has been the ability and the accessibility of a degree that works for my non-traditional, and often, revolving life.

I feel gratitude for the unpredictability and the life lessons, but I am also extremely grateful for the stability afforded by accessible education.  The ability to pack up my books, the ability to take a week or month off, and the ability to work in a way that works for my life-without having to sacrifice my dreams, is a privilege that cannot be denied.