For those of you who know me well, you know that after three years or so, we usually pick up and move across the country for whatever reason and begin a new adventure. We throw our chips (or is it cards) up in the air and see where they land. This has worked out well for me, because on the way to the next adventure I usually plan what I want to do and then make it happen. But here I am, 31, a teacher, wife, and mom, and I have absolutely no clue what the next couple of years look like. I can sort of picture what life will be like once the Bean starts kindergarten, but there are five blank-canvas-years staring straight at me.
I was back at school from maternity leave for all of six weeks before I decided to take next year off. I applied for a one-year leave of absence and thought, "This will be great. I'll take one year to be with the Bean and then come back to teaching refreshed and ready to rock!" Then my leave of absence was denied. Oh. HR informed me that if I wanted to take a year off that I would have to resign and then reapply for any open jobs a year later. Oh. After about 30 seconds of panic I felt this enormous weight lifted from my shoulders. I feel like for the first time in a really long time my future is wide open. It feels like someone opened my eyes and reminded me that there are many possibilities. This is not to say that I don't like teaching -- I love it. I love the school that I'm at and (most) of the students there. Taking a leave of absence was a plan, but resigning is liberating! Why stop at one year? Why not stay home for a few years and have a brood of babies?! Or why not take advantage of all the awesome theatre here and get back into being a teaching artist (you're in and out of those classrooms and never have to write a referral or call a parent)?! Or why not get my MFA?!
The one thing that I am absolutely sure about is that I will get to spend way more time with the Bean. I won't have to rush to pick her up from day care or feel guilty for staying after school with someone else's kids. I will get to wake up with her, have lunch with her, arrange play dates. I will get to take time to breathe and wait and see what happens next. It is really peaceful here in this blank canvas.