Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I want to do everything

This is going to be kind of a strange post today, in that I'm not really going to talk about money, frugality, or simplicity. I'm not going to talk about values and ideals, about how to help people, about what it means to be successful or fulfilled.

Well, maybe that's not entirely true. Maybe I'm going to talk about all of that a little bit, but mostly I'm going to talk about life. Bear with me if you can, but if you're looking for some straightforward answers, move along. I won't be offended.

I'm starting school again at the end of this week. I haven't really started preparing, mentally or physically, because I have such complicated feelings about going back to work full time. As much as I really love teaching, I had a very frustrating end of the year last year and am having trouble building up the enthusiasm to get started again.

So every day, instead of facing head on the possibility of what it means to go back to work and be a full time teacher again, I'm finding more things to do. I'm blogging, writing articles, doing free online classes. I'm taking on more part time work, I'm looking into volunteering, I'm writing in my journal more, I'm reading three books at once. I've started knitting again, I'm being very conscientious about going to the gym, and my laundry is more caught up than it's ever been.

I'm hiding.

The truth is, if I do everything just a little bit, if I don't focus on any one thing, then I will never have to face up to my feelings about what it means to really be this person who I am. If I dont' ever make any choices, then I won't ever make the wrong one. I want to be a domestic goddess, I want to work in a museum, I want to be a full time writer, I want to travel the world. Do I want to be a teacher?

The strangest thing has happened. As I've gotten closer and closer to returning to work, and tried harder and harder to avoid thinking about it, I've been running into my students. This hardly happened all summer and now, this week, it's happened three times. And when I see them I feel warm and comfortable, I feel successful, I feel like I'm somebody, like I'm good at something. And boy is that terrifying.

I've said from the get go that one of my financial goals was to eventually make enough money that I could afford to leave my job if I wanted to, afford to work part time. Everything I do to reduce my expenses and increase my side income is predicated around this idea of escape. If my side income exceeds my outgo, then I have a safe route of escape from my full time job, from my life. And that makes me feel safer about the whole thing, makes me feel like it's okay to have this job, to be this person, because it isn't forever. It isn't real. It isn't me.

So why don't I want it to be me? Why am I so interested in trying everything at the expense of being anything? Yeah, my job is hard, and it's frustrating. It's a lot of work, the pay isn't very good, things go wrong. Kids are rough, parents fuss, administrators can be downright heartless. But I don't think that, really, that's what bothers me.

The thing that I realize more and more is that this is the first time in my life I've EVER had the same full time job for more than one year. We moved around so much, and I was in school so long, that I have a host of experience on my resume, but the one experience I don't have is going back.

I think it's time to be brave and accept that that is my next adventure.