It’s the first day of school. Last year, I started this blog on the first day of the school year, so I’m reposting in honor of thepauser’s first year. I didn’t know what to expect when I started blogging, so I’m thrilled with the response I’ve had so far.. I’ve been out of pocket for the last couple of weeks, doing professional development for teachers in and around my city. I can’t wait to see what new ideas and experiences will jump out around the next corner.
Today, I got up at 7 a.m. I had a leisurely breakfast and watched television. I did laundry. I worked on my “project” clean of the back bedroom. (“Project” cleaning is when you do more than just dust and vacuum, but put your hand on every object in the room and ruthlessly weed items from your life or find a proper spot for them). I walked on the treadmill. I went to the water company to question an astronomical bill. I showered. I worked on a demonstration for my part time job. I doodled some prototype logos for my blog site. And now I’m writing my first blog post.
What’s unusual about any of these activities? They are just the type of minutia I said I wouldn’t write about. I am writing about it, though, because it is unusual. For me.
Because today is the first day of school. And today, I’m not going to school, taking my children to school, or teaching school as I have for the last seventeen years. Today it hits me with full force: I have quit a good job that I did for a long time to pursue other interests. I’m in the house all alone. The only sound in the room is the click-click of my typing and the whir of the ceiling fan. And I’m feeling all these different emotions.
Guilty with a Bullet
Of course, I feel guilty. I’m able-bodied. I’m not sick. In fact, I feel pretty darn good. So why couldn’t I just gut through it? Superhusband has a job, and he doesn’t even feel good this week. No job is perfect. I should have just bit the bullet and continued. Retirement is only 7 or 8 years away. I could have stuck it out. Probably. Maybe.
Where will the money come from? I know we have the money to pay our bills, but what if Super H has a sudden urge to go to Aruba? We won’t be able to afford that. Not on my one- day- a- week- of- work salary. Will I be able to do what I set out to do when I quit? Am I really a writer? What if I think I’m writing words and crap is really all that’s dribbling across the page? It’s runny crap, I bet. What have I done?
Lonely Weirdness/Weird Loneliness
Am I going to get lonely? I’m so used to being around people all the time. I’m used to having people to talk to. What if I turn into some kind of an eccentric? Or a hermit, with wild hair, who makes unpalatable cookies to lure people into her house? The truth is, I don’t feel very lonely right now. But what about that? Is it weird if I’m not lonely? After all, my entire life has been an endless loop of going from one room to another in which people need me to do something, say something, fix something. Shouldn’t I, on some level, miss that? Okay, on some level, I do. But so far, it’s been unconscious. In dreams, I’m still working in the school. People still expect me to fill their needs. Multiple hands outstretch toward me, like Zombie hands trying to grasp me through the veil of sleep. I don’t know if I’m lonely or if I’m weird. How does that make me feel? Like I’ll never see Aruba.
Okay, after I have these little horrors, these shocks to my system when I suddenly feel not great, I have this sensation of correctness about my decision not to work full time. I drove to San Antonio (a 30-mile trek) to run errands the other day. It wasn’t until I was on my way home that I realized I’d forgotten my watch. In the past, I would have noticed it missing in the car on the way to work. I would have turned around and retrieved my watch. I wouldn’t have spent a whole day without it. Time was a scarce commodity, and I couldn’t afford not to count it scrupulously. Losing time meant losing control, people thinking less of me, and not being able to get my job done. Now, I don’t need to notice time so much.
I can feel a long-hidden part of me unfurling. I feel my own strength; I mean I can feel it as a tangible part of me, like my jaw or my knee. Maybe my strength was with me, but submerged, like one of those giant catfish that go into the deepest holes and hide. You know; the ones people stick their hands into the water to catch.
I’m catching my catfish. I catch myself laughing. I’m singing in the car, and thinking about singing for this blog. I needed this time. I needed to face the world with fear and wonder instead of fatigue and terror. I needed to pause.
I’ve missed the excitement of the first day of school; the children in brand new tennis shoes, their garrulous smiles and unguarded utterances, the brand new pencils that have never made a mistake, the tart smell of unused copy paper, and the bustle in the hallway as everyone tries to remember where to go next. I’ve missed it and I miss it. But I’m where I’m supposed to be- sitting at this desk, surrounded by books and my own brand new pencils, writing to you.