If you should rear a duck in the heart of the Sahara, no doubt it would swim if you brought it to the Nile.  Mark Twain

As always, when I am seeking literary inspiration, I don’t need to go any further than my collection of Mark Twain’s works to find that illumination. This brief quote is a good one, one that means something to me. From this desk, you could interpret the quote as, “No matter where you go, there you are.” Or you might want to see it as a commentary on flexibility. “It doesn’t matter where you go, you need to do the best you can.”

Those two statements aren’t in conflict but rather I see them as connected. Many of us believe that by moving us to a different location, we are improved, enhanced, or actualized. Rather than that, I suggest that we have got to do the best with what we’ve got, regardless of where we find ourselves.

This is a concept that I mention quite often, either on this medium or in the classroom. If we look for others to complete us or provide us with some magic elixir that will somehow improve or expand us, we are making a mistake. It is up to each of us to do everything we can to be everything we want and need to be.

What’s the alternative? We get to age 60, 70, 80, or older and begin to question our earlier decisions. Why didn’t I go to nursing school? Why didn’t I become a full-time educator? What made me make the romantic decisions that I did? Although I may have spent as much time as most folks on asking these types of questions of myself, now I am certain that they were and are a waste of time. The most concise reasoning is this: You are not where you were when you made whatever decision you are questioning. Having the luxury of hindsight doesn’t change that. So make the best of what you are where you are. If you’re a duck, you’re going to swim like a duck, regardless of the body of water. I’m thinking that’s a good thing. Shalom.

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