"Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it."
With the start of summer being tomorrow, I can now say that the past 10 months has been one big roller coaster for me both physically, mentally, emotionally and everything in-between. However, you wouldn't understand the past 10 months unless we venture back in time to age 5.
I've always had something to "go to" since I've been a toddler. Think about it, we all go through this. At the age of 5 we start Kindergarden, or Pre-K (depending on your situation). We attend school till we are seniors in high school. Then off to college we go for 4 more years. Graduate at the age of 22 and head off into the working world without much of a break in-between and work till retirement. Whoa... let's slow down that train!... Too fast.
Now, I understand that this doesn't fit ALL people, but most people I know have followed this path, which reminds me of an industrial assembly line... not the life I want to be living. I decided to go into music education when I was in high school, mainly because my friends were doing that, so I wanted to do it too. The next "go to" step after graduating high school was graduating college.
The plan after I graduated college was to take the year to work towards applying for a masters degree and to continue making money through playing gigs and working miscellaneous music jobs. I had something to "go to". Work was sporadic and unsteady.
This time last year, I was going into rehearsals for a summer production of a musical and had nothing to "go to" once it was over. No gigs. No steady job. No nothing! I felt that I had no other options to "go to" so I might as well teach music. I went to school for it, so I guess that means I have to do it, right?...
Ten months ago, I started a full-time teaching job. I went into it thinking that it was the perfect job with a great starting salary and incredible people, and it was! But from day one I felt something wasn't working. I kept telling myself things like "well, you have nothing else to do so you have to teach", "you're in this job so you can't do anything else." and I felt trapped.
My moment of clarity came when I compared my working relationship with that of a physical, romantic relationship. I knew from the moment I started that I didn't like it and wanted something different. I couldn't place my finger on what it was specifically about the job that I didn't like, all I know is I felt like it's not what I'm supposed to be doing. If you are in a relationship and feel like something isn't working, do you stay with that person and force it to work? Or do you cut them loose to explore and find someone else? Do toddlers try to force the star shape into the square at the doctors office when they are playing with the Fisher Price toy? Or do they eventually learn what shape works better?
We tend to hold on to the things we know we don't work but feel bad about leaving them which keeps us stuck. And the longer we keep forcing it, the harder it is to get out later down the line. So I made the decision to leave teaching after one year. I'm excited, and yet terrified, about what I'm "going to" in the future, but I listened to my heart for the answers which feels so liberating after I made my decision.
I don't regret one single thing about these past 10 months because had it not been for that, I wouldn't have gone through the process of finding out what works for me, as hard as it was at times. We all have the power to change our situations, and it may take time, but are you willing to take a risk and follow your heart? What's stopping you?...