I’ve never said much about my work life here on the blog, probably because while I felt well-suited to my job, it wasn’t something I cared to think about when I didn’t have to. My intention, many years ago, was to become an academic. I got an MA in English literature and began work on a PhD, and I loved it. I loved the learning and teaching and writing. I loved the mix of people. I was grateful every single day for the opportunity to be part of a community that encouraged me to use my brain in vigorous ways. I can remember walking to class marveling at how I’d gotten so lucky.
But that crazy life. . . While I was working on my dissertation, the world as I knew it changed, and it became clear that the future wasn’t gong to unfold as neatly as I’d imagined. When the dust of the unforeseen finally settled, I went to work in the publishing industry, and that’s where I’ve been for the last 18 years. Until now.
Starting on Monday I am going back to teaching English full time.
I am thrilled.
It’s not just that I’m happy to get back to teaching. I am. But I am also looking forward to walking into the classroom and meeting students as I am now. The first time around, I had rigid ideas about where I should teach and whom I should teach, and also about whose opinions about my teaching and writing and research mattered. The years have given me a broader view. I can see now that all of that certainty got in the way.
My fifty-one-year-old self has found the freedom to not know, to celebrate the gray areas, to search without having a death grip on the outcome. I can now say “both/and” where in the past I’d have felt compelled to choose “either/or.” My hope is that this will make me a better teacher.
For nearly two decades, I tried to do a good job at my work because I believe that’s what a person should do. Come Monday, I will have the honor of trying to do a good job because it just might change someone’s life if I can. I know it’s going to change mine.
Thank you, blog friends, for listening and for being part of my world for the last four years. Knitting goes on. Thank goodness. However, it will probably look a lot more like this in the days to come.
*The title of this post comes from Langhorne Slim & The Law’s “Changes.” Earlier today, we watched a total eclipse of the sun, so it seemed especially appropriate.