It may be a negative way to look at it, but I've always thought that the phrase, "look on the bright side," really didn't make anything better. To me, the whole concept has a twisted way of making people ok with under-achieving and overall mediocrity. Oh sure, there are times when disaster strikes and you can use the phrase to make things not seem so bad, but it seems like most of the time the phrase is used to rationalize short-comings and mistakes.
"I slipped and destroyed my ankle, but at least I got some Vicadin."
(Don't try to take shortcuts. Think before you act.)
"I failed out of college, but at least I get to play video games."
"I only tested into Level 1 Japanese, but at least I don't have to try as hard."
The problem is that I was looking forward to the challenge. So far, since returning to academia, I have not been challenged. There have been a few deadlines that were taxing, but not really challenging. Also, since returning, there has been nothing that I've felt any real passion for. There have been things that were fun, but nothing I was actually been trying to accomplish. Until now, I felt like I was taking small steps up a very long stairway. That stairway ultimately lead me to this point, where I feel like instead of just taking a small step, I would be making a leap. I still feel as though there will be a leap, but I no longer believe that the leap will be far enough for me to do what I wanted to do with my language skills.
Instead of accomplishing my goals, I'm left to "look on the bright side," and make the best of what I've been given. I mean, I'm still in freaking Tokyo and I'm still getting to learn to speak Japanese(however inadequately). I'm going to try my best to learn as much as I can, but I've been told by one of the people in charge that there is rarely any vertical movement in the Japanese classes. Rarely doesn't mean none, so maybe I can pull something off. Either way, all that's left to me now is to do my best and to have as much fun as I can. I also would like to go to the beach.