Yesterday was one of those days that I had to sit and think again. I know when someone like a friend or acquaintance tells me I have to go out more often and meet people and do something with my life, they have my best interest at heart. As well as I know on the days that I go out and sit in a coffee shop with my book and notebook and read or write time passes quickly. And on those days I am much calmer and at peace.
But when these same people ask me or tell me to go back to teaching or start tutoring, it throws me off. They do it for the same reason they tell me to go out. “To do something meaningful with my life, because I am still young.” I totally agree.
For as long as I can remember I have worked. I have always been among people. Mainly I have always taught. But teaching for me is associated with my “other self” – my old self, the person I will never be again. Up until now I didn’t know this kind of loss, this kind of sadness, this kind of emptiness. No matter what I do I don’t think I will ever be my older self again. And for that reason I do not want to go back to my older profession, to teaching.
Teaching for me is very much associated with sweet memories of my late husband. I got engaged right after my graduation and after that I started teaching. And I kept on teaching well after my kids were in university, until his first diagnosis. So teaching for me is associated with happy memories from when we were a happy family of four.
That world, the world in which my loved one lived and that included me, is lost now. I can’t go back to it without him around. I would like for my life to continue but not be a continuation of my older self. In the words of Maya Angelou:
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Don’t complain.”
I need to search for some answers. Do I go on and teach knowing very well that it is something I would not like to do? Or do I look for something to do where I would feel more at peace with my new self and at the same time give meaning to my (otherwise) meaningless life? Something that my late husband also wanted me to do – write!
Maya Angelou writes:
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
So do I seek to survive or to thrive? What would you do if you were me?