Last June, at the end of the school year, I decided to resign from education. When I began telling people that I was leaving teaching after seven years to pursue something new, I got a myriad of responses. Some were supportive. A bunch were surprised or impressed. And, many went like this: What about your growing pension? Are you SURE? The job market is tough out there. There are no jobs! You make a decent salary; do you really want to give that up? Can't you just do whatever else you want to do on the side? But you are good at what you do!
I felt awe-struck by the majority's subtle insistence on taking the safer option and simultaneously realized why they call following your heart the "road less traveled." Society trains us to think that we must grapple and struggle for security, and once obtained, that we should hold onto it for dear life! After all, the "unknown" could turn into something uncomfortable! I guess it seems to some that it is better to be safe and feel as though there is more assurance that we will survive than it is to risk it all in order to THRIVE. But, I wonder, what is it exactly that we would be risking?
In the previous paragraph, I said "survive." Is that really what we are afraid of - that we won't survive? When I examine this more closely, I think the truth is that being "comfortable" is what's at stake, rather than survival. So, again, what is it that I would really be risking? Well, I could fail. This is true. And, what does that look like? Worst case scenario - I would default on my bills, be unable to afford a place to live, and not have money to buy food. I could, potentially, end up on the street with bad credit. Hmmm. I decided I could live with that. It would be a much better alternative, in my opinion, than waking up years from now and wondering, "Why didn't I follow that calling deep inside? Why didn't I see that the Universe gave me that calling for a reason? Why didn't I take a chance? Why didn't I live my life?"
While we are all trying to secure our tomorrows and be comfortable, who then, I ask, is securing our todays? Don't you want your life to be an adventure? Don't you want to live as much as you possibly can? Don't you want to realize your full potential? Don't you want to know the deep joy that comes from fulfilling your dreams? The future is just some concept out there that, let's face it, never turns out the way we thought it would anyway! Will I really, really end up on the street, starving? Probably not. So, why, I ask, would I stake my "now" for something that might happen "then"?
I chose not to.
I chose not to.
I always told my students, "Follow your dreams. You can do anything your heart desires. Don't live small. Don't hide your light." And I meant it. What kind of educator would I be if I didn't lead by example? If I were a hypocrite of my own credo? That's not the kind of educator I wanted to be. That's not the kind of life I wanted to live - one with an ember burning inside that I ignored. If I can do it, then they can too, and so can you.
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." (HDT)