Hello everyone. This is my first official post on my new website for the new year and the new decade.
Last year, 2019, was unique in many ways. January 1st through December 31st, I was married the whole year, the first year that has ever happened. I married my husband, Adam, on October 21st, 2018 and I’ve never been married before.
As I write this, I am 34 years old, which in many ways feels unbelievable. When did I become this old? Didn’t I just graduate college a few years ago? Well, yes, if a few years ago is the same thing as…thirteen years ago…
So yeah, a few years.
Why was 2019 unique, other than the fact that I started it and ended it as a married woman? In May, I was teaching 8th grade English and Reading, and in August I was teaching 6th grade English and reading. I saw the end and the beginning of middle school. I was a teacher, but 2019 was my last year of teaching. I quit teaching and my last day was December 20th, 2019. I taught full-time for ten years.
Why I quit teaching is complex in many ways, but in other ways, it was very simple. I simply did not want to continue teaching. Actually, that’s not really true. I wanted to teach, but I did not want to teach with the demands that are expected of a teacher.
I wanted to write, I wanted to read, I wanted to be joyful and happy, and a light to those around me. I wanted to really live. 2019 was the year that a defining chapter of my life ended. This is a new chapter, a new segment of the story of my life. While listening to a podcast about writing, I cannot remember which one, someone said something about how women’s lives were like a long necklace of beads. Each bead represents a different part of that woman’s life, and they are different times when that woman recreated her life.
I found this idea comforting. At this point in my life, it almost feels like I am starting over, or the person I used to be is gone, but if I can view it as not gone, but a part of my life that is being strung together with all of the parts of my life, somehow that feels more authentic. As a child, I read extensively, in junior high (which is a much better name than middle school, which I find belittling) I played basketball and volleyball. In high school, I started over in another state, Texas, where I had a chip on my shoulder after moving from Arizona, where I was born. I loved acting, and I made new friends and was highly involved in my church. College was in California, majoring in Communications, with an emphasis in speech and drama and a minor in Biblical Studies. It’s true. I wanted to do theater. I was a stage management intern at three different theaters. I was a barista at Starbucks, I was a college graduate who could not afford rent and moved back in with her parents. I went back to school, went to Europe for the first time, got certified as a teacher, worked as a tutor and substitute before teaching full-time.
Who was I during all this time? Am I the same person I was during all these different phases? I have to say no.
Looking back, I believe that there were times in my life that I was more sure of myself, I knew myself better, I knew who I was. But I’m not the same person now and I feel like in some ways it’s like the start of a whole new relationship. It’s exhausting. Not a student, not single, not an intern, not a barista, not a teacher…who the hell am I? I don’t even have the same name as I did last year after I finally and legally and officially changed my last name.
So I guess what I need to do is to get to know myself. And I invite others to join me. I’m hoping that we all like this person once we get to know her, but maybe it’s not about liking this new person. I want to like myself, but that can be a lot of work. Trying to understand myself is work too. Huh, well, as the saying goes, it looks like we got our work cut out for us.