I’m a quarter of a revolution around the sun away from a quarter of a century years old, and I feel…quartered. Like I’m just setting up shop, being held hostage with amicable amenities. Just who my captors are and why I’m captive are topics of endless analysis and introspection. But I’ll spare you the blabbery in exchange for the reality.
When I first shipped off to college, I didn’t debate much on what to study. I briefly considered business, but for the most part I was set on studying English from the onset. It was what I was good at in school, so I figured I should stick to it. A couple of people tried to convince me not to, because what was I going to do with a Creative Writing degree? Write creatively?
But I spit in the face of pragmatism and kept right alongside the one thing that has continued to imbue my life with a sense of meaning and purpose. In four years of undergrad, I never once looked back or questioned my reasons for doing what I was doing.
Then it came down to the question that people originally tried to warn me about. How could I write creatively for a living? I capitulated, and decided to balance myself out by being practical for my second go-around at school, choosing to continue my education by studying education. And here I am, a full-fledged teacher, a decision that has birthed countless headaches; the process has been fraught with frustrations and regrets.
I don’t dislike teaching, nor do I regret going into it. In fact, I have gained a lot from the past three years I’ve spent in the classroom, and consider this profession to be a very sound fallback should I fail miserably in life. But teaching isn’t what I really want to do. I want to write…creatively. That’s why I feel quartered.
Reason dictates that if I’m not happy with where I am, I should change something, right? The plot is unfortunately thicker than that slapdash analysis. I’ve already agreed to teach at the same school next year, bringing my residence there to two years. One more day and I have tenure, and I’ll never have to worry about a job again. Though I typically bemoan my work schedule of having two time-intensive, demanding jobs, I’m usually struck with perspective at some point and realize that I have TWO jobs in 2013 that many people would love to have. There are a lot of people out there having a rough time in this economy, and I’m lucky to not be one of them. Then again, was my dream growing up to settle for two good/not great jobs? Am I complacent or complaining?
My girlfriend and I have been making plans for the future, and at this point we’re pretty set on going to teach English abroad. It’ll give us some time for adventures, help us save money, and allow us to devote more time to each other instead of yielding to the demands of our respective multiple-jobs schedules. I’m personally excited to have more time to write, which I’ll need if I intend to apply to grad schools when we get back (which I do). So why is this a daunting decision? All the cards are stacked correctly in my favor to make it a successful and meaningful experience.
Ultimately what I’ve arrived at is this: I’m comfortable. It’s easier to complain than to improve, to tread instead of progress. I’m comfortable with my title as a special ed teacher, even if it’s not exactly what I want to be doing with my life. What’s weird to me is that I know better. Every time I’ve gone out on a limb in life, I’ve come back with armfuls of fruit. Being pushed out of my comfort zone has always paid off for me, and I know it will continue to do so. At the end of the day, it all comes down to being confident in my ability to swim through the flood. The unsettled feelings of uprooting, the fears of failure and change, the worries I have planting my relationship on its own in a foreign country, all of it has to be channeled into excitement to become the person I know I’m capable of being.
This is the IPO of Donald Mac. The market is volatile, the risk is high, and the earnings aren’t there yet, but there’s plenty of room for growth. Pull the trigger. Make the investment.