Monday, March 11, 2019

Monday Musing

geralt via Pixabay
Seven years ago, I was trying, for the second time in my adult life, to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up (besides brave enough to get back on an airplane). I'd just retired -- ahead of schedule -- from the job that had been my career for the previous twenty-seven years. Too young to retire for real, but not young enough to start over, I had arrived at a crossroads, and I had no map.

At first, I did what I knew -- I wrote and I taught. The writing was mostly articles, trying to find a few editors who would consistently buy my work. The teaching was community education classes, almost all of which centered on writing.

With time on my hands, I dug into this blog, posting consistently and within an overall framework, as opposed to sporadically as I'd done before I retired. As it turned out, the timing was great, coinciding as it did with the debut of Casting the First Stone in 2014.

Three years -- and many posts about organizing -- later, I launched my Organizing by STYLE blog and this June, Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist's Guide to Sorting Your Stuff, will make its appearance.

In between, I got a job teaching psychology at a local college -- a job that has grown from one class each semester to three, with the precise combination of classes changing often enough to keep things interesting. I discovered a love of learning that rivaled my love of writing -- or maybe I'd always had it  -- which only increased my enthusiasm for my work in the classroom.

So, here I am, seven years later. Still writing. Still teaching. I no longer embrace the role of counselor in quite the same way -- though, like my Jersey roots, my counselor roots run deep -- and, these days, my students are about a decade older than those I spent most of my career with. I've adjusted to that, too, and genuinely enjoy working with young adults.

I guess you could say it turns out that I knew what I wanted all along and yet, I'm still working to find  balance. Last week, we had winter break and I immersed myself in writing and writing-related projects, setting school work aside completely. On Saturday, I forced myself to tackle the grading that had remained untouched as I traded one role -- temporarily -- for another. And today, still smarting from the loss of an hour (that's another post entirely), I'm trying to find my way back to embracing both roles within the same day without shortchanging either one.

It's a challenge. But, having had a whole week to devote to my writing, I feel less of a sense of desperation to make some headway than I usually do. I checked some writing projects off my list last week and made some progress on some smaller ones (yes, Marita, Charli and Angel are in that second category).

Putting in that retirement letter seven years ago was a leap of faith. I had dreams, but no definite plans and while the road out of one thing was clearly marked, the road into something else was shrouded in fog. I marvel at where I am now, not always fully certain of how I got here, but certain that I can't take all the credit.

Teaching is hard and so is writing, but both are also profoundly rewarding. Some days, I find it funny that I ended up back where I started, in a sense. Other days, it seems incredibly obvious.

I guess when the road ahead is a dream, it makes sense that it's shrouded in fog, that we can only see a few steps ahead. We can map out a plan, but we do so knowing the terrain may change at any time and we might have to take detours, or perhaps end up at a different destination altogether. I suppose that's all part of the adventure. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I know it's an adventure I'm glad I set out on.

Oh, and that airplane thing? Turns out the trick to mustering up my courage is having a child who's studying abroad. Next month, I put that bravery to the test when my husband and I fly to Ireland to see her.

For now, it's back to writing. And grading.

And dreaming.

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