I am surrounded by boxes. My one-bedroom apartment has exploded in a sea of cardboard, bubble wrap, and packing tape. So what am I doing? Procrastinating by writing a long-overdue blog post, of course.
Confession time: I’ve been absent from my blog for a while not only because it’s summer, but also because I think I’m experiencing temporary professional burn-out. I’ve been in a constant fight to maintain my career for five years. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but it was mentally and emotionally exhausting. While I kept up a brave face, being let go from my last job knocked me off balance more than I admitted even to myself. After five years of constant fighting and overcoming, that blow hurt. A lot. It still does. Now that the financial pressure is off (due to my husband’s amazing job opportunity), I gave myself permission to take a mental break from ambition and take some time to recover.
Don’t worry – I haven’t written off my career completely. I’m still job hunting half-heartedly, but as my sister pointed out, my version of “half-hearted” job hunting is similar to other people’s intense job hunting. I’ve updated my state license, sent out several resumes, and kept an eye on the job posting websites. However, I only apply to schools and jobs that really appeal to me, instead of scrambling for anything that might possibly work. It’s mid-July, so by now I’m assuming I’ll just be subbing next year again, but I’ve come to terms with that. I’d rather sub than take a stressful job I don’t enjoy, and subbing can often lead to connections and potential opportunities, anyway.
All that is true, but it hasn’t taken primary focus in my brain, either. Like I said – the last five years have worn me out. I need a break from the mental fight, so after I packed up my classroom and filled out licensing paperwork, I gave myself permission to not think about teaching as much. My attentions have instead been taken by other things, such as apartment hunting, packing, and visiting family.
This move is a little different from the others, because it isn’t temporary. Ever since our move to Seattle in 2009, the longest we’ve lived in any one place is a year and a half. This time, we’re planning on staying for a while. Dan has a good job, and we found a beautiful apartment. Hopefully, we should be able to stay there until we’re ready to buy a house someday. That puts a different spin on things as we pack. Before, it was always about figuring out what we needed to get by and what we could leave in storage. This time, we’re actually emptying out our storage (giving my in-laws use of their basement again) and planning for the long haul.
I’m ready. I’m ready to settle down and build a community for ourselves that we’ll actually get to keep. I’m ready to put together a home, not a temporary residence. One of the many reasons I invested so much into my career in the last five years was that it was nearly impossible to invest in anything else too much. When nothing else was long-term and everything else changed around me, my two constants were my husband and my drive to be a good teacher. Even this blog gave me a sense of consistency in the midst of all the change. Now consistency won’t be quite as hard to find, so it’s OK that I’ve haven’t clung so tightly to my career in the last few months.
I still don’t know what the future holds. I never will, really. I don’t think my career is over. I believe that my turn as a teacher is still coming, that someday I will establish myself and build something awesome out of my crazy, unusual foundation. So stay tuned and don’t give up on me – it may just be a little while down the road.