5 Things I Never Thought Would Be Useful To My Life

Me being a nanny/Darth Vader

It’s kind of funny how life prepares you for things you don’t have any idea will happen. Sometimes it makes sense, when you have a clear goal of where you want to go next (ex. taking swimming lessons to prepare to beat Michael Phelps in the next Olympic games) but, more often, we periodically find ourselves in somewhat odd chapters that make no immediate sense to our life stories.

I’ve always thought it was funny how things fall into place, and yesterday I was thinking about how many perfect situations I have experienced in order to prepare me for my now future, when I had no idea it was going to be happening before a couple of months ago. So, here they are: Five seemingly useless parts of my life…

1. College Grades:

When I set out to do something, I generally work my hardest at it. I don’t really see a point of pursuing something you’re going to give half an effort to, and I don’t ever want that kind of repertoire. In college it was pretty hard to “care” about grades and how I did in my classes. I lived in dorms where people ran around screaming and went on awesome 2am adventures. I’m not gonna lie, it looked appealing, and sometimes I wanted to go ice blocking at 3am, too. But, I had to remind myself why I was at college – to learn. And now, the grades which didn’t seem to matter (the general consensus seemed to be “as long as I graduate…”) are being submitted to the French government for approval. Am I glad I paid a little more attention? Yes. Yes, I am.  (Also, it’s required to have your BA or an equivalent education in order to work as an Au Pair in France, so I’m really glad I have my degree in general.)

2. Backpacking:

When I took my backpacking trip around the UK I was just looking to get away and go on an adventure. I wasn’t trying to get a book deal, or trying to inspire the world – I just needed to get away. Although, it was an amazing trip, my motives were purely self motivating. Now looking back, however, I see that if I hadn’t taken the leap of faith in traveling to Europe by myself, I would never have had the guts to move to another country. Moving to France seemed so much more attainable because I had already travelled (almost) that distance, alone, before.

3. Working With ESL Kids:

Two of my five nanny children were adopted from Africa shortly after I started working with the family. While the oldest had pretty much mastered English when they arrived, the younger one still has some trouble with verb confusion and possessive nouns. But he’s learning quick! And being able to be there to help and guide them, while they master a language, has given me skills which I can use when I’m working with teaching English to the kids I’ll be a nanny to in France.

4. Taking A Random Foreign Language And Continuing To Practice It After High School:

Everybody is forced to take a few years of a foreign language, but most of us don’t remember anything after our academic requirements are filled. Honestly, why should we?  But my brother told me something after I had taken my last required French class that stuck with me. He told me to never stop practicing; to watch French movies or read French books, every now and then, so I didn’t lose what I had learned. And he was right! I would never have retained the amount of vocabulary I have now unless I had, every now and then, continued learning. (Also just taking French in the first place, and not allowing myself to be peer pressured into taking Spanish, which I never liked — refer to this blog post)

5. Being A Nanny:

Unlike many people who are nannies, I never had any desire to work with kids. The opportunity definitely picked me, more so than I picked it. When I first started nannying I had no idea how much it would stretch me as a person, teach me to love, and inspire me to become a better person. For a long time I saw it as a stumbling block on the road to my career success. But it’s only now, when I look back, that I see how important it was for me to experience nannying before I moved on to whatever the next chapter of my life will be.

Me being a nanny/Darth Vader
Me being a nanny/Darth Vader
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