Or how about this one:
On a serious note. I really do have a big decision to make and it is part of the reason I've probably been feeling "stuck" lately or a bit on the lost side. I have until February to officially make this decision but as with most things in my life, I'm always one step ahead of the game (not necessarily a good thing). I have to decide whether I will return to my half-time job as a teacher or give up my position and decide to stay at home with my kids for who knows how long. This isn't a decision I make lightly. My career as a teacher is one that I love. It fills me with so much joy and passion to be in the classroom building relationships with students and making a difference in their life and learning. It is a "dream job" in my eyes. But so is being a mother. I've decided. I'm making my decision official tonight for all the world to see (or really, just the few people that are reading this blog besides my mother). I've decided to give up my teaching job and see where life takes me!
Getting to this decision has been hard for me. I know that in my heart I've always known the answer but there have been several things holding me back. Mostly FEAR. Fear always gets in the way of life and living fully. Fear of what it means for me as an individual and the idea of losing myself. Fear of becoming just a washed up pile of yoga pants, greasy hair, and no make-up while my mind slowly turns to mush after finger painting or drawing stick figures for the umpteenth time. Fear of having no professional connections or letting my dreams of writing, getting my Doctorate, and becoming a professor of education fall through the cracks. Fear of not having intellectual stimulation or inspiration to write. Fear of what others will think of me as just a stay-at-home-mom or the assumptions that I don't have a "REAL" job. Fear of hearing someone with good intentions say "Aww, that is so cute that you get to stay at home with your kids and play all day" and wanting to just eat their face off! So. Much. Fear.
I am done living my life with fear and doubt. I'm done playing life "Safe" and sticking to the rules that others set for me. I'm ready to dream big and take chances. I'm ready to live for the NOW and hold close the things that are the most dear to me. I'm ready to push myself to new limits and decide to not let what others think of me hold me back.
How did I come to this decision?
Part of it is because of the words my mom said to me the other day after giving me two books about writing. I asked her if she thought my blog was stupid and if she thought it looked pathetic that I was a stay-at-home-mom writing a blog. Here is what she told me in so many words:
"Amanda, NO, I don't think it is stupid and you shouldn't care what others think. I think this is a step in the right direction to where you want to go. You've always wanted to be a Mom. You've always wanted to write. Let this be your start. We all have different chapters in our life. Who says that being a teacher is something you have to do with the rest of your life? It may just have been a chapter and now you are moving on to a new chapter. Use this time to stay home with your kids for as long as you can. For now, get better at writing and expressing your voice through blogging and then, when the kids are in school, you can write more. Who knows what it will lead to. Use this time to be an artist and create your life in a way you want it to go". Right then and there a huge weight was lifted. I think it was then, that I really decided in my heart of hearts what I would do.
Katy Jo. She's one of the biggest inspirations in my life lately and one of the biggest influences in helping me make my decision to give up my teaching job. Katy is a senior in high school that lives around the corner from me. Recently she lost her Mom to cancer. I didn't know Katy until just about a month ago but I already love her and so do my children. Having her hang out with me and share stories about her mother and her life fill my heart fully. Talking to her last night on e-mail and today when she came to visit after school made me realize how short life is. Too short to not do what you love and take advantages of the gifts and opportunities God gives us in life. Before we know it, life will be gone. Hearing her tell stories of her Dear Mother is teaching me so much. I've learned from her Mother about motherhood through her daughter's stories of love. Thank you Katy for reminding me just how important my job as a Mother is. So happy you came into my life.
All the comments I got yesterday on my blog Clearing Energy Blockages also helped me with this big decision. One of my readers/followers, Christina at Lazy Bones Running sent me an e-mail today as a follow up conversation that made me realize the importance of making a decision, going with it and embracing the NOW for what it is. There are always different decisions to make in the future.
What hit the nail all the way in my "teaching next year coffin" was actually a blog I read tonight by SUAR or Shut Up And Run. It was just a simple posting of a sticker she had made with her blog name on it. She is giving it away to the first 150 people who mail her their address. Of course she will get more than 150 people who want a sticker with her blog name on it. A sticker to remind them of what Beth at SUAR stands for. A sticker that reminds them of whatever it is that her honest writing means to them. To me, I want this sticker to remind me to embrace myself for who I am and not worry about what others think. This post made me realize the power of JUST. BEING. REAL. I am no longer going to go through life wondering if I made a fool out of myself with my lack of verbal filter or for saying just what I think. I'm no longer going to fret about those people that are critical of my outside-the-box personality because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Those people shouldn't matter. I'm ready to stop putting LIMITS on my life. That is what SUAR's blog reminds me of.
Shel Silverstein says it best :
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
Anything is possible. Just because I am deciding to give give up my teaching job and stay at home doesn't mean I'm going to stop making ambitious goals for my life and career. It doesn't meant that my life just turns into craft time, cheerios, and running kids around. It just means I'm starting a new chapter in my life! I feel SO free with this decision. I feel so happy to have made up my mind and I'm excited to continue to give my ALL to what I do. I'm ready to be the Mom, the Writer, and the Runner. Here's to the next chapter in my life!
Thanks to all of you for the wonderful support and encouragement you have given me. On all levels...Running, Motherhood, Life.