31 August 2006

Life, More Abundantly

In response the last post, the Brilliant and Talented Nathalie said, "I swear that just this morning I was trying to figure out the what to be when i grow up question and all i could think of was 'someone with a very interesting and diverse and creative life.' That may be the antithesis of my current life. And I can't figure out if I want a Career (with a capital C) because that's truly what I want to dedicate my life to or because I feel like I should want one but what I really want is a part time job that pays the bills while I do pottery and yoga and cook. "

Nathalie, my friend and sister of my heart, I wish you were here so we could talk about this in person. I've spent a lot of time the last 3 or 4 years thinking about this. I wonder if it isn't some part of the American mythos to believe that there is a Career out there that is the Perfect Job For You and will fulfill your deepest longings. I mean, why can't I figure out what color my parachute is, for goodness' sake? Teaching works for me in a lot of ways...It gives my day structure and purpose, it matches some of my strengths and skills, it meets my need to feel important and, most of the time, I really do think that I make a difference for my students. But there a lot of things I hate about it: the constant bureaucratic battle over funding, the daily beating public schools and teachers take in the media, pushy helicopter parents, high stress levels in special education, closer and closer control over what is taught and how, etc. etc.

Having identified the soul-crushing aspects of my job, I am left trying to find ways to make my job and life sustainable. I tried to identify what parts of my life were life-giving to me (in Oprahese: "renewing your spirit", in Christianese: "worship").

Things that Deb finds necessary for longterm soul survival that are not met by being a teacher:
1. Time spent outside in nature
2. A little exercise every day
3. A good night's sleep
4. Outlets for creativity/art/craft
5. A welcoming home
6. Long conversations with a few close friends
7. Good books
8. Excellent food
9. Prayer/meditation

Moving to Oregon has helped with #1. Having the dogs and taking up cycling has helped out with #2. And this blog is part of my attempt at #4. I haven't figured out how to make all of them work yet.

It's easier in the summers to live a balanced life when I have time each day to just Be and move at my own pace. It's a lot harder once the school year is under way. We've just begun the teacher year and I can already see the balance slipping away.

This year, I am committed to live life more abundantly and creatively. If I can't figure out how to make it work with teaching, maybe I'll just have to get a part time job that pays the bills while I do pottery and yoga and cook.


njc said...

Deb, I'm really glad you have this blog. It reminds me of all the things I lose sight of so fast. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I just want to say that I appreciate the example you set of how to be smart, sophisticated, successful and most importantly, balanced. I'm becoming more and more certain that a move to the West Coast will be our next adventure and I really hope we land close to you.

Deb said...

You know I'm lobbying hard for you to move to Portland, right?