Tomorrow is my last day of full time school.
Since the Fall of 1987 I have spent five days a week, nine months a year, at school. Eighteen of those years were as a student, twelve were as a teacher, and three were both while I earned my Masters Degree.
I estimate I have had 85-90 teachers over the years and taught more than 1,000 students. Needless to say, education, whether as a student or as a teacher, has dominated my life for quite some time. Really, education has been the dominating presence and force OF my life.
But when I wake up Friday morning all of that will change. Sure, I will still be teaching a few classes at Western Technical College starting in the fall, but for the most part, life as I have known it for the past thirty years will change. This upcoming change has prompted a lot of conversations… many with myself. Some of the conversations involve letting go and saying goodbye.
I am saying goodbye to…
· A 7am – 3pm schedule
· Daily lesson planning
· Organizing the chaos of several preteens
· Lunch with friends, co-workers and my husband
· Sending my children to, and paying for, surround care
· Stress caused by 13-year old humans
· The thrill of a fresh new start each fall
· Having my content knowledge and experience fenced into strict parameters
· Watching a kid who thought they hated reading discover a favorite series
· Having my most frequent words each day being, “Stop talking”
· A twelve-year career
· A life that I have planned, prepared and been educated to live
Some of these things I am sad to leave behind. Others I can’t leave in the dust fast enough. But the end of this week is not all about goodbyes. Many of my internal conversations focus on the hellos I will soon by saying. Saying hello to taking a chance, to taking the leap into my dream career.
I am saying hello to…
· Time in my beautiful writing office
· More time for my words, stories and book projects
· A greater role in WWInk, my writing group
· An increased involvement with Big Shared World
· A flexible schedule
· Mornings at a slower pace
· More time and energy for my family
Five years ago, I told myself that when my youngest went to Kindergarten and we no longer had to make obscene-mortgage-sized daycare payments, I could change careers and become a full-time writer. I’ll confess … I stated this plan often, to many people, and I worked with every intention of achieving it. But I wasn’t always confident I’d be able to pull it off. An ugly school year, one that made me take a self-imposed swearing sabbatical, altered the path of my goal. I used to think I needed a plan that would meet our family financial needs. But what I ended up needing more of was a work space that was not damaging to my mental health. Ready or not, it was time to leap.
This path has been more bittersweet than I would have pictured or hoped for, but the end result is the same. Tomorrow is my last day of school. Thankfully I am in good hands and God had all sorts of good things lined up for me. Several relationships and contacts I’ve been building suddenly bloomed, leaving me a solid bridge to walk out on. As of Friday I will be a (mostly) self employed writer. A life long dream and five years of hustle will be achieved. I think that on Friday morning I will wake up and say to myself, that despite everything else, I feel pretty damn good.