I am on a journey. The path has many bumps and turns. Sometimes the path stretches on ahead and seems as though there is no shade from the beating sun, no respite from the heat. But for me it’s all about finding the shade, restoring my energy reserves and moving forward. I started writing here to tell people about my quest for a balanced life, and it may seem as though I’ve forgotten a bit about that, and have maybe gotten a little preachy, suggesting that I have achieved major steps in the areas that I’ve written about. It’s not my intention. I’ve made progress, but there’s always more to do. I believe that a truly balanced life is achieved only through doing your level best to find out what works for you. So I have been trying to share what has been working for me, in the hope that one person might read it and figure out what might work for them. But the real purpose of this post is to write about where I am and where I want to go, who I want to be.
My work situation has changed dramatically in the past week, but this issomething I have been working towards for a long time. I have been in the same job for the past fourteen years, and it has taken me four years to develop the courage to take a risk. I got to the end of my tolerance levels at the end of last year, and returning to work a little over six weeks ago only served to confirm the feeling I had. It was time. On the advice of one of my oldest and dearest friends, I engaged a career coach and began my quest for a new profession. This week I sat down with my boss and discussed a passage towards my departure, and figured out a plan with my career coach. I am ready. Soon the job applications will be running thick and fast, and I will be finally moving into a new world. I’m scared. But I’m also committed and determined.
As a teacher, I have always felt connected to my work in a way that meant so much of my identity was intertwined in the vocation. Education wasn’t just my job; it was who I was. I think it was the sheer amount of work to be done at home that led to this. So many evenings and weekends spent preparing materials and lessons, marking stacks of assessments and thinking about how to tackle a certain situation. Gradually this shifted. I began to focus my time away from work on things that benefit me, my son, my family and my friends. My spare time became my life. I now identify with me, and no longer place my self worth in my job. I am and can be so much more than that!
I’m also at a point where I realise that diving into the other parts of my life is the way to achieve lasting happiness. Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy most of the time. But I just have this feeling that there’s something deeper there. I also think that the key to this for me is relationships. And I don’t just mean the romantic kind. I think the relationships I have with my family, my friends and my partner are crucial to living the best and most balanced life I can. Along with that comes my relationship with myself. I read so many things online that say your relationship with self must come first, before having a relationship with anybody else. I disagree with this now, after taking it as gospel for many years.
I believe now that our sense of self, of self worth and of our p
lace in this world is so inextricably linked to our relationships with others. If your relationships with family, friends and your partner aren’t functioning well, then it’s quite likely that you’re not feeling very good about yourself. This is absolutely a work in progress for me. But I do feel like I’m making progress. As my relationships with others improve, so does my sense of self. My greater understanding of who I am is opening doors to new ideas and pastimes and giving me a new perspective on my world.
So this is where I’m at right now. I’m taking some risks and trying different things to find that little bit more. But rather than trying to find something at a particular destination, I’m trying to find meaning in the journey. I’m sure that’s where it is. It’s getting rockier and sometimes harder to navigate. But gradually the scenery is becoming more beautiful as I find out more about who I am and practice non-judgement, acceptance and patience in places that are more and more right. Ironically enough, allowing things to happen and accepting them for what they are is making it easier for me to make decisions that can really alter my course in life. Where are you headed? How does the path look? I hope it’s filled with happiness, adventure and love. But if not… why not change something?