The last few months have brought about a lot of change for me. I recently began a new job. Leaving my previous position was a very difficult choice for me to make, and up until the very moment I walked into my new job, I regretted my decision to leave. For a few years now I have worked with elementary students, my "babies." I have developed amazing relationships with these kids and their families. I have watched them grow, change, and develop right before my very eyes. In fact, I think it's safe to say that I had at least a small part to do with that growth and change. I love these children as though they are my own, and I don't say that lightly.
But sometimes in a workplace, there is more than just "the work," and although I loved my students with great passion, the um, "other stuff" that took place in that school was more than I could bear. I consider myself a pretty strong person, and make no mistake, in the midst of all of the "drama," I made the choice to rise above every single time. But the simple fact is, that in the last year I completely stopped thriving and instead just tried to survive every day, every minute of my life. And you know what? We all go through seasons like this, and it's OK. But it started to really take a toll on me, my health, and my family. A single mom needs everything she can possibly hold onto in her reserves. And so I made the choice to leave a situation that was not only no longer serving me, but was stunting my growth as a person. My job began to hurt me.
Friends, working with exceptional children is hard enough. I've had chairs thrown at me, been bitten, and been in a choke hold by a child that weighs more than I do. I've also had great moments of success, and breakthroughs, and hugs and love and laughter. Leaving was a tough choice. This isn't the first time I have found myself straddled between "holding on and letting go."
This week I started my new position at the high school. Stinky teenagers, what on earth was I thinking? You know how sometimes you can just sense that something is going to be right for you? This is going to be right for me. In a few short days I have already grown to love the students and teachers I am blessed to work with. The air of the building is one of positivity and gratitude. This is the place for me.
And still, change can be scary because, you know, it's change.
I've found myself in moments of sadness because I've had no one to share this experience with. I've been excited and happy and really wanted to just come home and bounce off the walls and exclaim my feeling of elation and relief.
There's no one here to share it with. No "partner." No "boyfriend." No husband.
I'm in this really great place right now as it relates to dating, in that I don't need to. I'm not actually panicked about the fact that I'm alone and I'm actually really quite ok being without someone in my life, and yet there are times.... it would be nice.
This is one of those times.
So I picked up a book tonight, as I often do when I seek guidance or need help through a situation or feeling I'm stuck on. I always try to work through my feelings rather than attempt to discard or ignore them. That just never works.
Today in "my" history class I'm working in, the teacher had the students fill out a "getting to know you," sheet. He then turned to me after asking all of the students their questions and asked me, "So what was the best thing you did this summer?"
I got published.
In a book.
And it was kind of a big deal.
And just like that I was reminded of all that I have accomplished and all I've done and even within the confines of that yucky year, the year in which I "merely survived" all of the junk... the job, the break ups, the financial stress, the lost of not one, but two best friends.... I accidentally on purpose kept right on thriving.
Well look at that.
And I was so impressed with myself that I actually read my own passage, my own words. And I found this comfort....
"I thought starting over on my own, just my two beautiful boys and me, was the answer. It turns out the joke was on me. It doesn't matter where I live, who I sleep next to, where I work or what I'm doing if I don't feel at peace with myself. I was the key to my own happiness."
Guys, this is the very definition of thrive as you.
None of the trappings of life matter. None of the junk of life matters. It's real and sometimes it hurts like hell, of course. It can be exhausting and soul sucking and it can feel like it's draining the very life out of your cells. It can also be exhilarating and joyful and fill your soul and heart with untold happiness.
It doesn't matter.
What matters is you.
What matters is inside of you.
What matters is finding a way, even when you think there isn't one and even when you doubt yourself to thrive anyway.