I’m not going to lie: I thought quitting my job would be easier.
I’d counted down the days until the end of the school year and stashed away enough funds to give me “paychecks” through September. I thought I would be spending my summer on swan floats, drinking margaritas and reading a book a day.
I’ve done some of that, but I’ve also been…sad. I’m grieving what I thought was going to be my life-long career.
I loved teaching, but I hated being a teacher. I loved working with children, but hated the million other tasks that prevented me from being able to fully focus on them. And I loved knowing at the end of each day that I’d at least tried to make the world a better place. (Cheesy, but true.) So doing what I know I needed to do (quitting) has been harder than I anticipated. I want to want to be a teacher, but in reality I wasn’t cut out for it.
When I tell people I’ve quit teaching, the first question 99.9% of them ask me is “So…what are you going to do?”.
Great question. It would be really easy to say I’m leaving teaching in order to have a baby/get a Master’s degree/find a new teaching job. The world rewards tangible things: a diploma on a wall, a baby announcement, a promotion. I’m choosing d) none of the above as my option. And it’s scary. I’m leaving a traditional career path for one that’s more off-the-beaten-path.
To be honest, I’ve also been a bit bored these past few weeks. I’ve spent the past eight years at 100 mph (working multiple jobs to pay your bills will do that to you) and now I’ve screeched to a halt. Y’all, on a whim I moved our kitchen appliances and cleaned under them. It’s a WHOLE new level of free time. This has also given my mind lots of time to wander. I’ve found myself asking “Should we just go ahead and have a baby?” (not yet), “Should I get a Master’s degree?” (in what exactly?), “Should I go back to teaching?” (what the actual #%#!). Idle hands, eh?
In the midst of my grieving/freaking out/trying to imagine my life a year from now, I actually did something productive and went to yoga class. There, my beautiful friend and yoga instructor Sara read me this quote:
Whoa. All the whoas. Tears immediately sprung to my eyes. Stop disappointing yourself. When I was chasing a dream that I didn’t want and climbing a ladder I didn’t care to be on I was impressing others but disappointing myself. Yes, most people don’t quit their jobs to pursue a dream, but I’m separating myself from the mob. I don’t want to live an ordinary life of punching a clock, hating my job, and spending my evenings numbing myself with television.
So here’s what I am going to do: I’m going to slowly remember what it means to have fun. Good ol’ lighthearted, carefree fun. I’m going to take my time planning meals for the week and wander the grocery aisles on a Tuesday morning. I’m going to sit across from Patrick at the dinner table instead of zoning out in front of the TV every night. I’m going to write, and read, and take Brody on long walks. I’m going to teach yoga and write on this blog. (Thanks for reading.) I’m going to say “aah” when I take my first sip of coffee in the morning and learn to be ok with occasional boredom. I’m going to work a part-time job that allows me to leave work at work. I’m going to find a way to make a difference that’s sustainable for my soul.
And if that’s not enough, there’s always the swan float.