Time for a change?
December 12, 2010 § 18 Comments
First, I apologize emphatically for what is about to be an extremely vague post. There’s a part of me that still feels like I have to protect myself, despite all the literature I’ve read that advises otherwise. I’ve simply been groomed to believe (whether erroneously or not) that speaking freely has the potential to destroy everything I’ve worked so hard to build. So, for that, I hope you will forgive me and will understand. If all goes according to my hopes, you should be getting answers in a few weeks.
It all boils down to this: I’ve cried a lot lately.* Like, A LOT. And my tears are consistently to do with asking myself (or being asked by people who care about me), “Are you happy?” Even if my over-protective logical centers reply, “Oh yes, I’m fine,” it’s fairly obvious that my reactive physical centers are revealing a different truth. I am currently grappling with questions of selfishness and practicality. For instance, if something’s wrong, if I’m truly not happy, then is it selfish to seek out happiness? What might I stand to lose by keeping my current trajectory? What do I stand to gain? What do I stand to lose by shifting gears? What do I stand to gain? How will this help or hurt my family? Robert? Will people be disappointed in me? Who? Will I be disappointed in me?
Those last three questions are the most painful. I’m constantly telling others that I don’t care what people think of me. Generally, that’s true. If Joe Schmoe thinks I’m a bit salty in my language or naive or reactive, who cares? I don’t know Joe Schmoe; he’s not important to me. But I do care about the opinions of my friends and family…and immediate authority figures. It matters to me if people’s expectations of me aren’t met; if I fail them somehow. And it matters to me if I don’t meet the goals I originally set for myself. But I’ve been wondering if avoiding disappointment is worth not being happy. And that’s where the selfishness question comes in again.
Every day I have a different approach to these questions. Yesterday, for example, I felt more confident than I seem to feel today. Tomorrow I might feel better. It’s really frustrating to be in this confusing place right now.
Again…I apologize for the vague entry. I know it’s not fair, and it’s certainly not fun to read. I swear in a few weeks I’ll offer more explanation.
*No, I’m not pregnant nor am I PMSing, so minds off my uterus, please. 😉
I hope you find your answer soon! 🙂
Thank you so much, Tonia! 🙂 I think I’ve started to point myself in the right direction. The next step is to tell the people who stand to be the most disappointed in me…scary!
If I may offer part of some sage advice once offered to me, and which I still appreciate to this day, “…watch the damn leaf,” 😉
I hope these questions find their resolution soon for you.
Hehehe. “Watch the damn leaf,” indeed!
Thanks for the support, Tim. It’s a strange place to be–on the one hand, I’m hearing from everyone that I should do what makes me happy; but on the other hand, I’ve convinced myself that those same people will be devastated if my happiness doesn’t turn out to be what it seemed to be all these years. Surely I’m wrong.
I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I think that your happiness is the top priority. You very obviously already know this, but remember: pursuing your happiness does’t mean you’re just flitting around like a butterfly from one shiny thing to another.
In my own experience, the only people who have really even commented on what I do have been parents and grandparents, and it’s not that changing what I do devastates them. They simply worry that what I do may not provide the material baseline they associate with happiness. Behind whatever they say, however, it is very clear that my happiness is what they are concerned with.
And don’t forget: that damn leaf won’t watch itself 😉
I know the place you are in cousin and it’s not fun! If you need someone to listen to you I’m here for you. I hope you listen to your heart and that this all gets better soon for you. XOXO
You’re such an awesome cousin, do you know that? 🙂 I love you–thanks for texting with me yesterday!! xoxo
Sending good vibes your way, sister! If I have learned anything it is this: It is impossible to please everyone, to meet those expectations all the time. If you can do what’s right for you with a firm confidence in your decision, the rest will fall into place 🙂
Keep your head up!
So. True! For some reason that life lesson keeps raising its ugly head at me…maybe I haven’t completely learned it yet, lol. When I was in undergrad, I was the philanthropy chair for my sorority (I ended up leaving them, but that’s a different story). And I was really good at my job–I could come up with great ideas for our community service projects like nobody else had before me. The only problem was that the 70-odd sisters never seemed to agree on which projects were worth pursuing. For example: they ended up pooh-poohing my “feed the hungry at the soup kitchen” idea for Thanksgiving break, but they loved the “hire a hypnotist and charge $4/ticket for the show and send the money to our charity” idea. Sigh. One of the nights when I called my mom in tears, she said, “There’s no way you can please everyone at the same time.”
It’s clear to me now that I still haven’t fully grasped that concept. Not only am I perfectionist, but I’m a people-pleasing perfectionist at that! Oh dear…are there any meds for people like me? 😉
Josh gave me some good advice that I think might help you. He said that you have to live with yourself and your decisions all the time. Others don’t. You can’t worry so much about what others think. Besides, it’s impossible to please everyone all the time. I’m sending hugs and warm thoughts your way.
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Hi Amanda! This is Cristine. I read your post a few weeks ago but didn’t get up the nerve to write until now… I just wanted to tell you that if you are considering a career change you should do it! The reason I say this is because any experience you get in a new field will help yog to know what you really want out of life. Case on point, I left the MA and went into marketing bur now am considering going back into teaching! Leaving teaching gave me renewed perspective and now I feel sure teaching is where my heart is. Not saying that one career change will make you want to go back to the other, but just that you never know what you will learn about yourself if you try new things. Also we are still young and we don’t have to feel locked in to anything… I will be embarking on my third job search in three years quite soon, and each time the job has been in a different industry! I’ve learned from all of them, even the jobs I hated. It is all valuable! Also, not to draw too many comparisons between yourself and I, I ws also worried thatmy parents would be dissapointed with my decision, since there are other academics in myfamily. But when I broke the news, they were relieved! Although they were proud of my accomplishments, they also wanted me to be able to pursue other opportunities and they knew how limiting my career path would be. Anyway, good luck whatever you decide to do. I think doing something different now can only make you abetter teacher later, if you decide to return. And it will never be too late to return.
Cristine, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I have an opportunity to talk to my parents coming up this weekend during the holidays, and I think those are the authority figures that I’ll start with. Would you mind if I e-mailed you sometime as this keeps developing? Thanks again for your candor and your support! I hope you and your man have a merry Christmas as well! 🙂
Amanda, I would be honored! definitely keep me posted! I am glad I can be of any help. I will also be in auburn in January– we should get dinner! I’ll be in town January 24-25.
Also apologies for the poor spelling; typing in car on iPhone! Merry Christmas!
Oh also just wanted to let you know that I don’t have access to email currently but I’ll be checking after tomorrow afternoon!
Dinner sounds like fun! I’m not quite mentally in January yet, but let’s keep in touch so that we can plan something when it gets a little closer. Maybe we can do something with B and V, too! 🙂 There’s this fantastic new Irish pub that’s opened up. Robert and I love it so much we could probably keep their power bills paid just by our patronage alone, haha.
[…] Which brings me to number three. I talked to my parents today about the things I have been fairly vague about in my blog…I wanted to tell them first. Folks, as a couple of […]