“Don’t like it, then do something about it!”
Me: “I am doing something about it. I’ve turned the corner. I’m making changes. I’ve started a blog!”
“It’s not enough. If you’re so unhappy just walk away and do what you love.”
Me: “I’m making plans. Putting things in place.”
“If you really meant it and wanted change, you’d just do it.”
The other night I had a heated discussion with a friend about life and direction and work. It was a conversation that really rocked me and I have been thinking about it ever since.
I was shocked by how black and white this person seemed to think the whole concept of change was – if you don’t like it, then walk away – do something about it NOW. It seemed so easy to them. I tried to argue my point – I am making changes. Small steps. I’m writing a blog (woo hoo – go me!). I’m trying to find balance. I will eventually find a job that doesn’t suck the life and soul out of me leaving me an emotional wreck each week.
But it wasn’t enough. I was howled down. That’s not change. You should be doing more if it means that much to you.
But is it anyone else’s right to have a view on what my CHANGE is? Or at what speed I make the change? Or whether the changes I am making are enough?
In thinking about this post, I thought I’d do a bit of pinterest-ing about Change and searched “Change Quotes” (to see more about my addiction to Pinterest – click here). As you can imagine, there were plenty to scroll through.
But none of them said – you must act NOW and do it at FULL SPEED. The majority talk about the need to just start. To start somewhere and to have courage and faith in your decisions. To back yourself. But most importantly, to just start.
I look back on how I got into teaching – and the early experiences I had. I did enjoy it when it was good. I had a few very supportive people I met along the way, but I really did most of it on my own. Often blindly. I was told I was good at what I did and I am. I am a really good teacher. But even during my teaching degree I had many times when lessons left me drained and in tears. So why did I keep going? Why didn’t I quit while I could?
I think it was the fact that I just wanted to get out of the education system and start having independence and start living. I wanted my own money and I wanted to move out of home. I believed that the easiest way for that was to finish my degrees and get a job. Within 4 years, I threw away my dream of becoming a lawyer or politician (things I had thought I’d become my whole life), and traded it for teaching.
I have had some fantastic times and worked with wonderful people – especially the people I work with now – but it is hard and draining and despite becoming a better and smarter teacher, I still find it depletes me.
With a mortgage, 2 children, dreams of doing an extension, needing a new car and 10 million other things, the idea of just throwing teaching in with nothing to take it’s place is not viable for me or my family.
So, do I settle for less? Do I just shrug my shoulders and say this is my lot in life? Do I throw away everything I’ve invested into this profession?
I look around the staff room table at work and I see amazing men and women who have been teaching for their whole lives and they look tired. I look tired! The things we all say, the looks we give each other, the sympathetic pats on shoulders as we walk past each other all acknowledge a common plight. We are all just stuck here – but we’re all in it together.
But I don’t want this. I never wanted it. Something has to change.
I do believe I have started though – spending time thinking about my life and my journey and where I want to go is helping. Writing and creating are helping. The struggle is finding the time – or rather, making the time.
“When it’s time for a change, you can feel it in your bones, and there’s nothing like that feeling – the feeling of chasing something new.
Excited, anxious, happy…maybe even a little scared…but those feelings drive us towards the starting line of something fresh. There comes a time when we want something more, and there comes a time when we need something more. It can build up slowly, or catch you by surprise. Either way, you know it’s time to skip to the next scene, press play, and let the magic of the unknown excite you.”
(Quote from Meister Eckhart)
I am inspired by people around me who are taking the leap and trying new things. People who have been inspired by my writing to make a change – to start learning an instrument, to dust off some much loved music, to start writing and reading.
And then there is one special friend who is standing on the edge of the cliff of change – caught in that struggle between settling for the known, the comfortable, the familiar, even though it makes that person sad and worn out and unhappy – and the uncertainty and fear of the unknown, the fear of change.
And to that person, I say leap. Make the change and fly. You will soar and you will be successful. You have everything in place to carry you through this change. You are prepared and you are ready. I have faith in you and so do all the people around you.
As for me, change is afoot. I am building my strength and I am making plans. I am putting things in place. I have belief that change will come. I am happy with my decisions and with the pace I am travelling.
For me, this change is about so much more than just a job. It is about improving my health, my lifestyle, my happiness. It’s about rebuilding me from the inside out. It is about achieving small goals – some that I keep to myself and some that I share. But the most important thing for me is that I have started and am making progress.
It does not matter at all what anyone else thinks.
The most important thing is me.
And that makes me happy.