iwannabealady.com I am leaving the teaching profession after a decade and it's got me thinking about what's important.

On Leaving Teaching. I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

I’m Nobody! Who are you?

Are you – Nobody – too?

Then there’s a pair of us!

Dont tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!

How public – like a Frog –

To tell one’s name – the livelong June –

To an admiring Bog!

– Emily Dickinson

iwannabealady.com I am leaving the teaching profession after a decade and it's got me thinking about what's important.

Emily Dickinson knew what was up. At this time in my life, I am nobody. I don’t mean the world doesn’t know my name type of nobody. Let me explain. I used to be a person.

The person I used to be was a teacher. People heard I was a teacher, and they knew the person I was. She’s a teacher. It always felt like an incomplete summary, but it was a complete person, and so I guess publically it was okay. I had a slot in society.

But now I’ve launched myself on a grand adventure. I’ve given up the other person to see who else I can become. The thing is, I haven’t found the new person yet. I am not this person or that person. I’m a little bit of everything; a floating speck of nobody in a sea of somebodies. Somebodies with slots.

I’ve never not been a person before. I feel like Ariel trying to stand on shore for the first time, her strong mermaid tail vanished.

Who am I now? Who dare I to be? Writer. Blogger. Entrepreneur. I am on the shore. No longer mermaid, not quite human. They say that big life changes are scary to make. They are also scary to live. So what has brought me to this scary place? Well, the scary place that I was in before.

You see I was a great teacher. Teaching is one of my talents. If I can understand something, I can teach it to someone else. It’s a talent I’ve often been proud of and loved. It’s a talent I have pushed and experimented with. It’s a talent that I’ve often pushed away.

Remember that scene in White Fang that made you cry like a baby? That’s been my relationship with teaching the past few years. Imagine this scene going on for years.

 

I’ve never been one of those people who knew exactly the thing they wanted. No, let me correct that. I’ve always been one of those people who know exactly what they wanted… until 6 months later when I’ve become more interested in something else.

I’ve always wanted so many things. I’ve never been the sort to stick to something. Everything was interesting. And I’d float around like the speck that I am from one thing to the next and study something, learn something, until the wind of my heart blew me onto something new. Teaching was the one constant.

You hear these motivational speeches where they say, go after what you want. But what if it isn’t one thing? Or what if that one thing is constantly changing? Ah, there’s the rub.

I have dreamed of: being a writer, a travel writer, owning a used bookstore and coffee shop, being a motivational speaker for teen girls, spending my days refurbishing and reselling used furniture, being a screenwriter, being a full-time blogger, being a designer, being a freelance writer, owning a production company, directing short films, writing a memoir, living a nomadic life, etc. ad nauseum.

I say ad nauseum because these passions have all lived actively in my heart within the past 2 years. Often they’ve overlapped.

Because Shakespeare is always relevant, let me share with you my dear Hamlet’s words.

To be, or not to be- that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them. To die- to sleep-

No more; and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation

Devoutly to be wish’d. To die- to sleep.

To sleep- perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub!

For in that sleep of death what dreams may come

When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,

Must give us pause. There’s the respect

That makes calamity of so long life.

For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,

Th’ oppressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,

The pangs of despis’d love, the law’s delay,

The insolence of office, and the spurns

That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,

When he himself might his quietus make

With a bare bodkin? Who would these fardels bear,

To grunt and sweat under a weary life,

But that the dread of something after death-

The undiscover’d country, from whose bourn

No traveller returns- puzzles the will,

And makes us rather bear those ills we have

Than fly to others that we know not of?

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pith and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.

If you aren’t into Shakespeare, what Hamlet is talking about is life’s struggles and the mystery of death. He believes that we stay and fight a continuous battle with life, although we can end it, because we don’t know what we might possibly face on the other side. Hence, “in that sleep of death what dreams may come?” We “lose the name of action” when we are afraid to face the unknown. We rather fight familiar battles than take the chance of facing something unknown and possibly worse.

So there you have it. Life is full of many little battles. Most people choose to fight the daily little battles that they are familiar with instead of facing the larger war, the Dream. For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come?

What dreams may come may be of the good or bad sort. We simply don’t know. Facing the battle of a dream is daunting, both in our minds and in reality.

I have stood in doorways thinking. Sat in bed thinking. Leaned on my desk thinking. I have talked myself into and out of every possibility. I have run toward and away from my decisions.

I’ve decided to face the great war and see if I can’t come out of the dream with my dream in hand. A dream within a dream, this is getting complicated. It’s a big world out there for a floating speck.

 

44 thoughts on “On Leaving Teaching. I’m Nobody! Who Are You?

  1. I relate to this way way way more than I should. Every single tiny passion you listed is in my heart as well…Finding just one direction and passion is proving far harder than it should be. It’s good to know I’m not alone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill, I also feel good knowing that I’m not alone in the way my brain/heart works. I’d love to just dawdle in dozens of professions and make that be my job. Maybe we’re all somehow related, us floating specks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It has to be how our brains are wired. I have always felt I was floating aimlessly searching for the best thing to “stick” to. My “dream job” changes monthly and I feel like I am constantly in search of some bohemian paradise to call my own… *sigh*

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good luck in whatever you end up doing.Sometimes one needs too reassess where you are and where you are headed. It can be scary and rewarding at the same time.Keep traveling and posting your travel reports as they
    are entertaining and informative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You said what many of us think. I hope you pursue your passions. It’s never easy, but it’s worth it. We need to bring what is in our hearts to life! Sometimes we have to juggle multiple things until we get there. The bills have to get paid. Ha ha, but the point is knowing that you will get there. Good luck with your decisions and pursuits! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Lyz (do you go by Lyz?) – this is a wonderful post – I love it.
    I’ve never seen that Emily Dickinson poem before – it’s a great one 🙂
    Also weirdly synchronous – last night I watched a Top Chef episode where they had to create meals inspired by writers who lived in New England – she was one of them.
    I’ve also been thinking of Hamlet a lot lately. I’ve never read it but am sometimes plagued with indecision, so I feel that I should!
    I bet you were a good teacher – when did you stop?
    Best of luck on your journey. Stay present and I don’t think you’ll have any regrets 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey! Yes, I do go by Lyz. That is super interesting that related things just start popping up, especially two in my post. It was meant to be. That’s a really specific theme to cook about!

      I love Emily Dickinson. She’s got such a unique way of explaining life. Hamlet is my absolute favorite Shakespeare play. You’ve definitely got to read it. Like yesterday. I don’t know how familiar you are with the reading of it but sparknotes dot com is a great resource in general. You’re going to love it, I promise. I’m already excited😅

      I stopped teaching technically this week. I just didn’t return to it from summer vacation, so this is very new to me. Thanks for the good teacher compliment. I tried my best for the knuckleheads. Loved my students, truly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha – since you’re so enthusiastic, I think I will read it 🙂
        The Top Chef episode is certainly interesting (especially one chef’s interpretation of Carrie!) – it’s Season 12, Episode 9, if you’re tempted to check it out (you can watch with a free trial of Hulu).
        You should definitely do plenty of writing – l love this line: “I have stood in doorways thinking.”
        I’ve had just over a year off now and have no regrets 🙂 Don’t wait for retirement!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Woo! Good luck with it all Lyz! I remember reading somewhere that most people change careers 7 times during their life. I feel like nowadays it’s less, and most people seem happy to stay in the first one they land in for ever and never explore something new. It’s scary, but also kind of exhilirating exploring the unknown. I’m not there yet, but I’m excited to see where that brain of yours leads you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Angela thanks! Boy 7 times 😮 I’m just leaving my first so I’ve got a journey ahead lol. Thanks for voluntarily following where my brain might lead. I’ll need you to sign a nondisclosure and a waiver. Sign there and there. Thanks! Let the journey begin.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I found my dream, and had to give it up. Now, I’m struggling to do a u-turn, and get back to it. It’s hard work, and the doubts are creeping in, but I’m sure I’ll get there one day. The greatest of successes in finding your dream, and keeping ahold of it, before you talk yourself out of it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing this. I can imagine it must’ve been incredibly hard to have to give up your dream. But it sounds like you didn’t give up on it, as you’re trying to get it back. Real life is definitely no fairytale. I wish you the best on your journey. The world’s can use people who are willing to work hard for their dreams. The urge to talk ourselves out of it is a really big threat. Stay strong. You’re inspiring.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so weird how you say those things and I feel like I’m saying it hahaha
    “I’ve always been one of those people who know exactly what they wanted… until 6 months later when I’ve become more interested in something else.” if this isn’t 100% me, I don’t know what is. Loved it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Somehow discovering that you used to be a teacher makes perfect sense – you have such a clear voice in your posts. 🙂

    I probably hold the unpopular opinion that we should all stop chasing THE ONE. Dream partner, dream job. Let’s drop those monstrous expectations, and just find happiness where we can get it. Small moments and tiny wins.

    I think you can find joy exploring ALL those things you mentioned, and it’ll be fun for all of us to follow along. Looking forward to it, Lyz! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you for that comment about my writing having a clear voice. I feel all fuzzy and accomplished now. 😊

      I especially agree that seeking any one thing can lead to disappointment, but also losing sight of all the other ways we can find happiness. Thanks for following along on the journey. I’ll try and keep it entertaining. Here goes nothing! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Sorry for my very late arrival Lyz. My time has been SO limited for blogging. Grrrrrrr. :/

    Your new adventure will be exciting and fulfilling, I promise you! You already possess the right attitude.

    Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Bon voyage Madame! 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just love Emerson. Do you happen to know of that quote is from his essay on experience? I’d like to read more of that in the full context and I have a collection of his essays at home. I’ve read Experience before but it’s been awhile.

      Thanks for the words of encouragement, Professor. I know all about time constraints, I’m just glad you could make it!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Immediately when i saw the Emily Dickinson poem i wanted to cry. You have to be the only teacher who has left an impact on me the most. I came to the school last week to visit hoping to hear some of your encouraging words and it broke my heart that i was too late. Since i never got the chance to say it then… Thank You. Thank you for actually teaching me. You taught so your students would understand and not just to pass tests. I probably still be 100% clueless when it came to analyzing poems if it wasn’t for you. I really hope to meet up with you again as you go along your journey. I miss & love you so much. Thank you for being in my life.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Asia, thank you so much for always being an awesome student. You weren’t always perfect, but you didn’t have to be. Students like you really pushed me to be a better teacher. You’re all grown up now and I still remember you. Guess what? You encouraged me plenty as well. I’m so happy to hear that I was able to help you in some way in this wild life 😃 Thanks for always being supportive! I can’t believe I missed your visit 😒 We’ll have to try again. xo

      Like

  11. Um, excuse me, this post is excellent. I’m also the sort to know exactly what I want…for a minute. I like to dabble in all kinds of things, then move on to dabble in all kinds of other things. I feel like I’m always in the middle, juuuussst on the cusp of finding The One Thing I’m Meant To Do.

    Also, how dare you use that White Fang scene. h o w d a r e

    ❤ x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve got a lot in common. A hefty dose of dabbling 😀 Sometimes I wish for a life of dabbling, but it’d be best to create a career/lifestyle that allows me to dabble and bot starve. Let’s keep working on it 😄

      And White Fang was calling to me from the wilderness to be used in this post. I couldn’t ignore the call of the wild, now could I? I just had to use it; there was no other way lolol. There were tears.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m finding blogging fits pretty well so far! It’s multifaceted, which is keeping my interest. 🙂 And I’m also finding that it’s giving me courage to do other things: start a fundraiser, “officially” review books, ask for advanced reader copies to review, etc. I’m putting myself out there more.

        I need to watch White Fang soon; it’s been years. I cry every time, haha

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That’s awesome, girlie. Blogging definitely engages my mind and helps me live with more awareness. What is your fundraiser for? Idk if you’ve told me. And you are absolutely capable and worthy of asking for advanced readers to review. You’re passionate, sensitive, clever. You’ve definitely got what it takes and I’m looking forward to seeing you continue to grow.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s all going to go to Puerto Rico through the Hispanic Federation. 🙂 I’m just doing a “Penny War” in my office to raise funds.

            You’re kind. Thank you. ❤ ❤ ❤ x

            Like

  12. Thanks for sharing your experience. I too have left the classroom, about a year ago.

    After 15 years I didn’t realize how burned out I was until I found another opportunity and leaped into a totally different field. I realized how much of my identity was wrapped up in being a teacher. It was all I dreamed of as a kid, pursued through college, and was singularly set on as I began my career. I think I grieved the loss of that identity for a couple weeks, and especially as historical events have come and gone as I loved the interaction with students in the discussion and discovery of the past.

    I know now that my identity wasn’t all in being a teacher. I have discovered there are things I really enjoy outside the classroom and even have TIME for now. That is something I didn’t have much of before. There are new adventures to have and new identities/roles to fill. I still miss “my kids”, but I don’t miss the job/work/politics at all. I can’t say I’m in a better place because I loved teaching and being a teacher. What I can say is that I am in a different place, and I appreciate that now too.

    May your journey be filled with discovery and joy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you might imagine, I was nodding my head through the entire time I was reading your comment. You States so well the ambivalence we feel about leaving. It particularly struck a chord when you mentioned missing out on the discussions we would be having and grieving the loss of identity. We had some great discussions. I’m happy to hear that you have found other work that is Meaningful to you and allows you to grow. How beautiful it is to cultivate all aspects of who we are. 💜

      Liked by 1 person

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