Yesterday was a trip. Literally. I had my first day at a new part time job (yes, another one. . . ), about 30 miles away from my house, back in the community from “before.”
Before, as in prior to when I made all this progress. Before, in my previous existence, when I was unhappily married and taught kindergarten at a school down the street. Before, when my reality was uninspired, planned, predictable, and I operated primarily on shallow, level one state .
Before, when I knew my life was not great but didn’t know what to do about that. Before yoga. Before breathing. Before freedom. Before I became this version of myself. BCTFD, as it were.
Yesterday was strange.
You know how when you visit your hometown you feel all awkward and conflicted, as though you don’t know who you’re supposed to be? You run into people and can tell that they remember you as you were at 18 years old when you left home for college, and they don’t know you as you are now, and it’s just . . . uncomfortable?
It was kind of like that.
I pulled up that morning into the parking lot and I sat in my car for a minute, breathing deeply. Envisioning my future. Giving myself a pep talk. Using the power of positive thinking.
“I can do this. It will be good. It’s just a year. Just one. Actually, it’s just nine months. Nine months is nothing. This isn’t forever; it’s just.Nine.Months.”
My heart sank as I stepped out of the car. My gut was on FIRE, screaming at me – “NO! This isn’t it. This isn’t you anymore. This doesn’t fit. You are finished with this. Stop. Don’t do it. Turn around. Get back in the car. Go home. Go back to your world.”
I wanted my normal Thursday. The one where I teach yoga in the early morning, write, then do my mom thing and get the kids off to school on time(ish). Go to CrossFit. Assist at yoga. Write some more. Maybe go for a run. Work from a coffee shop. Have family time. Then work again, do some reading, catch up with my friends. Go to bed when I feel like it.
That life is good, really good.
So, um, WHAT THE FUCK was I doing in that parking lot then? Why was I not doing that, instead?
Why am I there? Why, after over a year of reprieve, I am stepping back onto an Elementary School campus as an employee again? By choice?
Well, while my former routine fills my heart with gladness, it does not, alas, sufficiently fill my wallet, yet.
It’s just not generating the stable income required to maintain my lifestyle anymore; the feast and famine nature of being an independent contractor for the large bulk of my work is making me crazy. It is literally pulling me in so many directions I am breaking.
Even after eliminating as many possessions and monthly expenses as possible, stress is creeping back into my life as monthly bill pay has turned into a neverending game of “go fish.” I am constantly losing, left with a handful of sealife, and an empty stack from which to draw.
This is not maintainable as a single mother of two children. It was fun, for awhile. I had resources, a back-up for some time.
Now? Well now I’m all out of cushion. My ass just made contact with the ground.
This is not to say I haven’t built my businesses, I have. I have gained clients, created networks, grown my professional depth and breadth in new dimensions. Things are picking up, quickly.
They are moving. Just not fast enough to hold it all together.
I can’t keep using this patch kit, there are too many holes to fill.
If I operate from a place of fear, if I’m so focused on generating instant income that I lose sight of the big picture because I can’t move past “go,” then the whole scene is going to fall apart. I won’t do my best work. I won’t make smart decisions. I will function from a stimulus-response pattern instead of using a strategic approach.
There is a difference between not having a solid plan, and refusing to pull your head out of the sand. It’s awesome to go wherever the wind blows you, but, it’s important to make sure you have the wings with which to rise on the airstream.
My wings, as it turns out, are currently out of commision.
I’m tired from flapping so hard in every direction.
I want one stable thing in my life. One normal, stable, dependable thing. A rock to stand on, so I can leap when and in which direction I choose.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.” ― Rumi
Well, I asked the universe, and it answered.
Less than a week after deciding to look for a way to continue doing what I love to do while I had a reliable income stream, my calendar was filled with job interviews. I had the great luxury of having options, opportunities from which to pick and choose.
Thankfully, the two pager resume I’m packing is actually kind of, well, loaded. I have degrees, credentials, and experience. This makes me highly employable, and I am incredibly grateful for that. I recognize how very fortunate I am to have this kind of arsenal just hanging out in my back pocket, mostly unused, but worth its weight in gold (and student loans, but that’s another story).
I ended up choosing a job that offers me the best of all worlds. I get to work at a school where a friend of mine is the boss, I already know most of the staff, and I’m doing something I know how to do forwards, backwards, with my eyes closed, and in my sleep.
I get to teach kids how to read.
How fucking cool is that? How amazing is it that I am blessed to give the gift of literacy to our youth? I get to help them access their world. I get to serve as a catalyst for their growth, development and ultimate success. And, I know what I’m doing too, like for real.
Seriously, that’s badass.
It’s going to be one crazy ride. I will be working about seven jobs, eight sometimes even. Teaching at the college, teaching at the Elementary school, teaching yoga, writing for my clients, writing for elephant, doing PR and marketing for more clients, assisting at Zuda. I’ll be driving north, south, east, and west, sometimes in circles, and changing changing roles (and clothes) several times daily.
You know what? I love it. I love every teeny tiny bit of that madness. It’s so me. It’s just how I operate- totally non standard, non conventional and sure as hell not like I’d had my life planned out, before.
This time around, I get to do it right. I get to be a great “me,” and a great teacher. I get to walk in my old space as a new person. I can be who I am and who I want to be, with no regret, no pretense. Just me. Just like this.
Nine months. About 270 days to get my financial house in order, my shit figured out, my work clear, my game tight.
Why do it? Why not just say “fuck it,” quit six jobs, take up teaching full time again and make a solid paycheck with some benefits and two months off every summer?
Because that’s not who I am anymore. It’s not what I want.
I didn’t swim across the lake this far to turn around now.
What I learned and I discovered during my exploration these last fifteen months has been awesome. I think maybe, finally, I know what I want. Quite clearly.
And yesterday, as soon as I shook off the fear, the moment I stepped out of the parking lot, into the classroom, and saw the smiling faces of my new (but familiar) colleagues, I knew I made the right choice for right now.
I found my rock. It’s an awfully nice one too. I think I’ll just sit here awhile and catch my breath, happy to be here, in this moment, at this time, in this place.
“I know you’re tired but come, this is the way.” ― Rumi