The Sun Sets on 2013

The Sun Sets on 2013

Gulf Coast, Florida-June, 2013

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
Mary Pickford

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There are three days left in 2013. Three more days to reflect on where I am going and how the last year changed me as a person. Sometimes for the better, but never for the worse.  I was at a conference a few weeks ago, one of the speakers reminded me that we seek change for one of two reasons, desperation and inspiration. 

First, the desperation that changed me.  I am moving into year two of a job search/career change.  After being a public school teacher for the past thirteen years, I realize I have few marketable job skills that could transfer to a corporate job.  Two interviews were just that, interviews. I persist. Revamping my resume, adapting cover letters, hoping that a computer or recruiter will give me chance sometime, someplace, somewhere.  I never knew that unhappiness of a job could have such an overwhelming impact on me as I look past my day, week and year.  The realization that I am no longer on a career road that yields fulfillment or satisfaction has been daunting.  

The recreational running has also been in part to desperation. I wrote before that I started running to help my sleep when my twenty-four year old brother was dying from brain cancer.  I kept at it this year, even attempting a half-marathon.  I persist, even as the weather grows cold, to give myself a break and time to think.  

Inspiration and desperation led me to fill out an application to begin the process of opening a charter school.  I hoped that this process would lead me to become inspired again by public education.  In many ways (looking at programming, asking what is best for kids, breaking common molds regarding what school should look like) this process has inspired me.  However, I am not a finance or facilities person, nor do I have any formal training managing people.  This task continues to inspire me, but under the umbrella of desperation.  Right now, the charter school process is almost at a frustration level.  I continue to push myself in an attempt to prove to myself and myself alone, that I can do this and make this a reality.  Hard work. Really hard work.  My husband boosted me over the holiday and purchased a domain name for me.  He believes enough to commit to this for at least another year.  

Inspiration focused some of my charity work in the past year.  The group fulfilled a grant request for my brother continues to need support.  Sometimes, with brain cancer, all you can do is write a check. I happily did that several times this year.  

Inspiration came in the form of my husband and children.  All are working hard in school: MBA, first grade and pre-school.  I am inspired by their love of learning and the progress they make and how they are really developing skills that were there all along. That is amazing to me.  

So back to that number, three.  Three days left, two things driving me, and I know that I am the only ONE person who is ultimately responsible for my happiness and direction in life.  These math problems, 1+2=3, are harder than they appear.

All the best to you in 2014. Find your inspiration first, before desperation takes over.

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Weekly Writing Challenge: My list of Characters that Haunt Me

Here is my list of characters who haunt me (from Literature) in no particular order.

1. Antonia 2. Ethan Frome 3. Professor Snape 4. Rhett Butler 5. The English Patient   6. Jean Valjean

I would place them in present day, mostly so I could talk to them, grab some coffee maybe, in the daytime.

Maybe we could talk about my complete lack of talent in creative writing…

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Out-Part Post Part Poem

The Post:

Have you ever felt “burned out”?  I think I might be, but the internet does not provide an accurate diagnosis. (Google, get on this, please.) I know that my feelings are more serious than in the past. I am out of energy, out of resources, out of ideas and out of hope.  The lack of hope bothers me the most.  I know something is horribly wrong because I don’t want to run.  My appetite is nonexistent. On that note, this post turns to poetry in an attempt to work through some of my thoughts.

The Poem:

Knocking slowly on

A hollow wood door  

The knob breaks apart.

With my tools the fix

Seems possible alas

Nothing is working.

Sitting down on the

Floor, back against the cold door

I hold my head and

cry and shake and wonder why I keep trying the same door over and over again.


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In Flanders fie…

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
-John McCrae, In Flanders Field, first stanza

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There’s a time …

There’s a time for departure even when there is not certain place to go.
-Tennessee Williams

The key seems to be deciding when the time is.

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I do not believe that English has enough words for ‘danger’. The signs are out where everyone can see, DANGER AHEAD, FALLING ROCKS or DANGER HIGH VOLTAGE WIRES or DANGER ICE ON BRIDGE. Where are the signs that no one sees? The signs that appear in your mind’s eye are just as important, even if the situation is not life threatening.  DANGER, SPOUSE HAD TERRIBLE DAY AT WORK, DANGER, STAFF MEETING TODAY, or my current sign, DANGER, CAREER CHANGE AHEAD.

My career continues to vex me.  The job search has started again.  I hoped that I would not need to resume the search. I optimistically thought I would rally and find new meaning in my career and a new vision for success.  After more than thirty rejection letters via the United States Postal Service and personal email, I am redrafting my cover letters and revising the wording and formats on my resume.  I have a side project, starting up my school, this continues to go well.  Side projects are not paid projects in teaching.  

DANGER, CAREER CHANGE AHEAD. Is it dangerous to have a career change ahead of me.  It is scary, it is humbling, it is overwhelming, but is it dangerous?  Most days at work from the time I walk in to the time I leave, I am in a state of high alert. All of my systems are on overdrive.  I have many unfinished task lists, I am easily overwhelmed and leave most things to the deadline.  Maybe my sign is DANGER, BURNED OUT.  Psychology classes in undergrad taught be about the fight or flight model.  I am in a constant state of hyper arousal, wanting to flee, but compelled to fight the good fight.  I was the problem solver at work, I had the ideas, I had the drive.  I lack any ambition to do any of these things anymore.  Maybe it is the philosophical direction that work is headed in that I cannot wrap my head around.  Maybe I need inspiration.

I am not dangerous, but I feel that I am in a dangerous place.  To live each day in a state of dissatisfaction does not lend itself to good mental health.  I persist at my attempts to find a way out of this dangerous spot.  I will not give up. I will find a way.

What is another word for danger? Precarious? Threatening? Unsafe? High-risk? Menacing?  None seem right.

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