Now that I’m home, I only feel lost.
This “stuck-ness” that I’ve felt for the past three (four? five?) years hasn’t faded. A year of travel did nothing to change that; it only made me more aware that this is not the life I want to lead. I’m more determined than ever to rediscover my freedom.
I’ve been back home for just over a year now. In the beginning, I had all of these plans and notions for my return; new hobbies, new adventures, new opportunities to get involved in…but within a week of my return, I was feeling trapped. My house refused to offer the same solace and comfort that it had for the past five years. My yard had somehow shrunk in size, and was severely lacking in privacy. I felt exposed and stymied, stuck in this life that I knew didn’t fit.
But still I tried to make it work. I adopted a rescue pup, and he became my new focus. I went back to my teaching job, with a better classroom and a different outlook. And for the first few months, I thought I could do it. “This is easy…I don’t love it, but I’m good at it and I get paid. I guess I made the right choice in coming back.”
But somewhere around January, I was done (I tend to suffer my mid-life crises in January. I’m not sure if it has to do with the new year, or my birthday, or the fact that there’s so much time to sit around and THINK, but it’s usually when I imagine my most radical life decisions). Second semester dragged on excruciatingly, and I began a premature countdown for summer break in mid-March.
Finally, summer arrived…and I didn’t say a word. I left the classroom as if I intended to return, and went off to enjoy my summer break.
I realize I’ve just been placing a band-aid on this enormous gash and pretending it’s healed. I’ve tried switching schools, and then grade levels, and taking a year leave of absence to travel the world. Even today, I was on the school district website looking for any open jobs at other schools. But I know that won’t fix anything. I need to get unstuck. And the only way I know to do that is to leave.
Next week, I’m giving my principal notice. I almost wish I were writing this after it was official, so I could explore my feelings and see if there’s any lingering regret or sadness.
I had tried to go back to my old life and my old house and my old career…only I was completely different. I don’t fit here anymore. And the truth is I haven’t fit here in a while, but I’m finally at a stage in my life where I can accept it.
New adventures are on the horizon, only it’s scarier this time. I don’t have the safety nets that were in place last time. There will be no job waiting for me, and I have no travel plans or destination in mind. I just know that I need to leave.
This city is suffocating me. I need green, and trees, and water…I need a slower pace. A simpler life. I am terrified and excited and more than ready.
It’ll be hard to say goodbye.