I’ve been asked this question by old friends a lot lately. My answer is simple: I got a real job. Yep, you read that correctly. At the ripe old age of 47, I got one of those jobs that require you to be there every day. All day.
The bad thing about this job: It has massively curtailed my wanderlust. I have a brand new passport – acquired in January – that has yet to receive a stamp. And it won’t do so until early November. But that’s ok. I’m still traveling – armchair style, of course. If you know me well, you know that I read voraciously. I work my way through three or four books at a time + a variety of online travel journals/blogs. Of late, I’ve turned more to travelogues – the Sand in my Bra and Other Misadventures rather than the Eat, Pray, Love kind – in order to curb my wanderlust. It’s that job thing again.
The good thing about this job: Massive amounts of freedom. I’m teaching history, economics, government, and creative writing. I am free to design my classes and curricula, and the work-life balance thing is a priority. It also helps that my students are amazing. They are bright and funny and creative and quirky and are out to change the world. I love that I have a part in shaping their minds and that I get to share in their intellectual discoveries on a daily basis. I am truly lucky.
So as my first year in a “real job” winds down, I am looking back on it with a great deal of gratitude. There was a difficult period of adjustment – especially in getting accustomed to so much structure – but I have learned a lot about my work, my gifts, and myself. After a summer of reading and writing, I will be looking forward to heading back into the classroom in the fall.
In the meantime, let the summer reading begin. Stay tuned for my list. I’ve hit the sale table at Politics & Prose, a pop-up used book sale at Columbia Heights, the Little Free Library on my street, and the free shelves of books in the alcove of my local public library in Petworth. Yes. I’m well stocked.