Last week marked the halfway mark on my current contract, so in two months I will be out of a job. Since I got here, I haven't really learnt any Sicilian, and only a tiny amount of Russian from my flatmate. My Italian has improved, but not all that much given that I've got a couple of flatmates whose English is better than their Italian (one's even Scottish).
What do I want to achieve in my remaining time? I think I really should be working on the Sicilian -- I'm in Sicily after all. And my flatmates are going to be disappearing slowly: the Russian one is planning on leaving for Germany in a couple of weeks. The Scottish one's contract ends a few weeks before mine. The Sicilian part-time flatmate's courses will be finishing in a few weeks' time. My world is gradually dissolving away, and it's forcing me to think about what comes after.
The default option was a return to Scotland, back to Edinburgh to try to gather a few private students while working on a piece of software that I've been supposed to be writing for a long, long time.
Or do I just go out and find myself another teaching job? Wouldn't it be easier just to keep the money coming in, while doing a job that I find satisfying and rewarding?
Besides, if I go back to Scotland, I'd be giving up the chance to immerse myself in another language full-time, which would be a shame.
There is a compromise, of course. I could go overseas and work on the software in a foreign country. But that could potentially be a very lonely existence. Without a job, I wouldn't have colleagues to lean on for company.
Maybe I should go back to Corsica and finally get a proper grip on Corsican. But if I did, I would probably end up working in a language school anyway, and the software would suffer.
The question I'm asking myself is: what do I desire?
And I really do want to get this software written.
I want to produce something better than everything available to the language learner, and part of me thinks I can do it, but another part doubts my ability to do it, and that doubt results in a fear of failure. Fear of failure leads to inaction, because if you never try, you never fail.
This fear of failure is what cripples many language learners. They hit obstacles, and things get difficult. Suddenly they're faced with the fear that the problem lies within themselves, when typically the problem is nothing more than ineffective teaching.
I had those same doubts myself for a very long time, and it held me back and prevented me fully committing myself to language study. I got over them for language. Now I need to get over them again in a different circumstance, and believe that I'm genuinely capable of doing something no-one else can do, and write something that is truly revolutionary.
And more importantly: something which removes the obstacles that cause most learners to believe that they're "just not good at" languages.