A Choice

I thought I walked away from my dreams when I gave up teaching in higher education. I was stuck in the world of being an adjunct with no prospects of being granted anything more. I blamed myself for a long time. I thought it was me. I convinced myself that if I worked hard enough, a full time job would come. It didn’t.

I had to face that no matter what I did, no matter how many hours I put in or what I did, it wasn’t me. I had no control over the disintegration of higher education in America. The two and three jobs I worked at a time took their toll. The 14 hour days, the hours and miles of commuting between schools took their toll.

I was buckling under the burden. My health was not what it had been when I started. I walked away. After gaining some training in educational technology, I returned to my home state. I started over.

I was hired by blended learning alternative high school through a temp agency as an academic coach. As soon as I worked off my contract, they hired me full-time. That same week, I also interviewed for an ESL teacher position and accepted the offer they extended less than 24 hours later. I’m where I’m supposed to be.

Only now with coming changes, I’ve had a decision to make with possible paths, and the choice will be long term. One path is higher profile; the other is to remain hidden in in the shadows. I’ve had to consider who I am.

I’m not the most socially adept person around and carry a certain loneliness with me. I tend to struggle to fit in and most of the time feel like I flit around the edges. I have spent my life soaking up knowledge, a “fact curator.”

Over the years, I’ve been so hard on myself – always working harder and striving to be more. Yet, I’m okay with who I am now. I don’t have to be something that I’m not. It’s not my job to save the world. It’s okay for me to just make my corner of it a little bit better. I’m okay just playing to my strengths and not trying to impress or live up to anybody else’s expectations.

Now, I’m seeing my shop in that small mountain village where my Little Grandma lived. For the first time, I can see the pieces beginning to come together.

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