Sunday, September 7, 2014

Back to Life

Last school year left me completely sapped. I saw a friend forced into retirement, while other colleagues feared for their jobs and most of us generally walked around shell-shocked. Stress was palpable. I lost someone close to me in early spring and didn't have a chance to grieve because I, too, feared for my job. While I tried to keep one step ahead, I realized that I don't want that kind of job anymore. A decent retirement plan could never be adequate incentive to stay for the long term in such a toxic environment.

A happy, hopeful Plan B took form during April vacation, and it buoyed my spirits through the last several weeks of school. I spent evenings researching, jotting ideas, sharing them with friends. My exit strategy took form and occupied time after school and weekends that heretofore were filled mostly with more stress--rehashing another crazy day, dreading the next. While I was scheming, my friend, Erica (also an unhappy teacher at that time, now a satisfied Realtor), was putting her Plan B into action and my friend Tamara was in the final weeks of reinventing herself as an event planner. I was inspired and encouraged.

Still, I spent the first four weeks of summer vacation trying to feel normal again, to regain some physical and mental energy. I slept until I felt rested and tried not to make many plans because I wasn't sure I'd have the energy to put on a happy face and follow through. I wondered if Post Traumatic Stress Disorder felt like that.

Eventually, I soaked in enough sunshine by my pool to start feeling better. And then, while out at the pool, I decided that exercise would help me to feel better too. I got in the water and started exercising. A few weeks later I felt remarkably better. I feel like I am finally coming out of a deep, dark tunnel, I told a friend a couple of weeks ago--just as I started back at school.

Terrible timing.

So far I have been able to walk away at the end of the day and leave it behind me, enjoying late afternoon hours in the sun and pool for the last few days it was open. This week I plan to join a gym with a pool and will think about modifying my exit strategy timeline.

Why put off for three years what I might be able to accomplish in one?

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