Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blog Update: A Change in Direction

I tend to like my changes to happen all at once, if it's not abundantly clear by my About Me: in June of 2011, I changed jobs, education levels, state residencies, and marital statuses in the same amount of time it takes someone to set up a Pinterest account. And while I've yet to beat that record, this year's June is shaping up to be almost as life changing.

I've been teaching full-time for nearly 4 years -- and have been in the early education field since I was 16. It's had its ups and downs -- times when I've cried because I was so happy, so proud, so satisfied and fulfilled, and times when I've cried because I was so stressed out and unhappy and ready to curl up into a little ball. I've learned a lot about myself as a person, as an educator, and as an adult. But that time has now come to an end. I notified my school in May that I would not be renewing my contract for the next year.

It was by no means an easy decision: I absolutely love the kiddos -- and the moments when they finally "get it" are second to none. I'm so passionate about the importance of quality early education that I can talk about it for hours, even with total strangers (since I know cognitive development in the early years whips people into a verbal frenzy).

I also lucked out in having amazing co-teachers and co-workers, people I could rely on as well as share a laugh (or drink) with. I made a bunch of great friends, people I actually wanted to see after work as well -- something I had never had before. Not to mention I had a commute so tiny that I could ride my bike without breaking a sweat. My commute home (which was almost entirely downhill) took a whopping 8 minutes from unlock to lock-up.

It was hard, saying good-bye to all of that. But my heart wasn't in it anymore. I found myself going through the motions more and more, even after my 5-week summer vacation, even after spending half of December in either Florida or Ohio. And this is not one of those jobs that you can fake it, cash your paycheck, and go about your day. Given all that being a teacher entails, you have to have a driving, unrelenting passion, or you burn out quick. I found myself thinking to myself even during the "good" moments -- the moments that are supposed to make it all "worth it" for teachers -- that this wasn't for me anymore, and I wasn't doing anyone any favors by staying.

And since my big life events like to happen all at once, about 5 days before I put in my notice, my husband and I stumbled upon a gorgeous little farmhouse-like colonial at the end of a beautiful cul-de-sac. We were hooked the moment we pulled up and, after serious deliberations, calculated reasoning, and fist-pumping our hands in the air to "Cotton Eye Joe" like Nick from New Girl, we made an offer on the house.

It has been a slow, tedious crawl to homeownership. You learn just how many steps there are in buying a house and how many people get involved in the closing process, and it's quick to see why buying a house is considered one of the most stressful things you can do. But, assuming everything goes according to plan, we will be holding the keys in our hand on July 12th.

Which just so happens to be the Friday after we return from our cross-country road trip. Because everything needs to happen in threes, my husband and I are celebrating our second anniversary by knocking off a huge thing from our bucket lists. We leave on the 21st for San Francisco, stopping off in Ohio, Denver, and Chicago along the way. There's something wonderfully poetic about our nomadic vacation starting a week after my last day at school, and ending a week before we (potentially) get the keys to a house.

So it's safe to say that big things are happening. If 2011 was any indication, I will return from all of this with even more energy to be used on things like my crafts. I'm excited for what is in store for me in the coming months, and I'll make sure to keep you posted :-)

- Abby

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