Somewhere in our lives we are taught that we need to grow up, be responsible, have a savings account, be insured, buy a house, get married, have a 401K, earn, save, plan and all of the things that supposedly make us “grown”. As I was thinking about this idea, I am not that person. I never have been (as you will read…I’ve tried to be)…but I am here to tell you that it doesn’t work for me.
In a post a few weeks ago I wrote about my lack of a 5-year plan. That thought has been on my mind a lot lately. I changed careers from one in a more creative field to one that is more stable. Before that I had many various jobs that make my resume look like a patch-work quilt of randomness… I am thankful for all of those amazing adventures. The places I’ve been, the lessons I’ve learned, and the amazing people I’ve met have made my life fun, interesting and pretty fantastic!
My current “career” path is one that has stability and longevity. It’s a “respectable” job that has all of the normal bells and whistles that make one “secure”. I have moved up quickly in my profession and now that I have reached the level of being a “leader” (I use this term loosely)… I’ve realized that I moved to my current position for the wrong reasons. When I began in this career it was truly a calling. A moment when I had a realization that I was supposed to become a teacher. It was random, sudden and urgent. It was clear I was meant to follow this path. I went back to school, got my degree and started to teach. it was awesome and I was pretty good at it! I taught for a while and began looking at options. The options were to move into a leadership role.
My current leadership role came out of necessity (necessity because the position I was in was being cut) as well as a desire to make more money… eventually. This isn’t how I’ve done things in the past. My choices are based on passion….this was based on money.
I’ve ventured away from my calling….to “climb the ladder”. I don’t regret taking this detour in my life, because it has allowed me to see that it isn’t the path for me. I won’t have to wonder if it was meant for me. I know for sure. It isn’t. I’ve learned that I like to work where there isn’t much that is black and white…where the possibilities outweigh the restrictions and creativity is looked at as a contribution to the greater cause. Where rules are flexible or created as you go, where taking risk is celebrated and failure is a tool to learn and do something even better. I’m never going to work for the money again. I’d rather live in a rented studio apartment and have my soul sing on a regular basis because I love what I do, than have lots of stuff that I don’t really need.
As my realization grew that my current job isn’t “my calling”, I’ve discovered that I’ve missed teaching. Teaching brings me great joy. I love sharing ideas, collaborating with colleagues and helping people discover new things. Teaching is as much about sharing as it is about learning. I miss that. A lot.Where I am now isn’t the right “venue” (for lack of a better word). It is too restrictive. I’ve had to box away parts of myself to fit into my current role. I was very idealistic when I took this job and the reality is clear…I need to be in a place where I can be creative, take risks and ask questions that may seem silly to others but that allow me to grow, flourish, and create.
I miss parts of me that I feel like I gave-up to “grow up”. The risk taker, the parts of me that followed my heart (even when it makes others nervous or uncomfortable).
In chaos comes clarity. I am working on finding that clarity. It isn’t easy, but the rewards are great.
Maybe that is why I am going through a phase where I really want to get rid of a lot of the stuff I have acquired over the years. It’s just stuff. And I think the more I am attached to my stuff, the more I feel I have to be what is considered ‘grown up’ so I can afford all of my stuff.
Sure, I know I need some things…. Money for food, bills, and shelter… clothes and books. Insurance is important. I get it. But I think I got lost in my desire to secure a job that made those around me feel secure about my future… and in doing so I was willing to conform to a point that doesn’t work for me. Now I’m realizing I need something different. I am thankful for the career path I’ve been on. It’s brought me so much joy through the amazing friends I have made as well as the millions of things I have learned about myself through the process…but I think I have come full-circle in realizing that somewhere on this journey I neatly put aside some parts of myself that I really miss. I’m looking forward to “unpacking” and rediscovering the creative risk-taker that has been on hiatus for a while.
watch out world…I’m making a comeback!