The Real World

The Real World

I don’t remember the context but I do recall my grade 12 Math teacher making reference to us, her students, as one day being part of the real world. Later that day, my buddy Dave and I were looking out at the city from the school’s top floor.

Dave said, “Out there somewhere is the real world.”

Yeah, I wonder what it’s like.” We looked left and right.

I don’t know, but we are going to be part of it one day.”

Yeah. I hope we are ready.”

That fall I started university and joined the R.O.U.T.P. (Reserve Officer University Training Program). For the next four years I studied full-time during the fall and winter and then trained with the navy for four months. While in university I would occasionally hear reference to the real world as something that awaited us after graduation. In the navy I would hear comments such as: “Our job is to keep the peace in the real world”, “Would you rather quit the Forces and get a job in the real world?”.

It was apparent that I had yet to find that place.

After graduation from university I did a six month deployment with the navy. Looking back, perhaps this was a way of avoiding making the transition to the real world. I don’t know but when my deployment was over I worked as a counsellor (guard actually) in a youth detention centre. You guessed it, there were frequent references to, “out there in the real world.” Drat, I still hadn’t arrived.

The following summer was spent with the navy and that fall I started my BEd. After graduation I started my 32 year career as a teacher. If my grade 12 Math teacher was right, the real world was out there somewhere and not within the walls of my vocation. During that 32 year span I often wondered how my life would have been different if I had chosen to work in the real world.

I retired last year. I guess I finally made it.

You know, I have discovered that the real world really isn’t much different from the whatever worlds I had been in since I was six. It’s really not that bad; in fact, I kind of like it.

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