Sunday, January 11, 2015

Weekends are for Thinking

Can you recall the look on the Dowager Countess' face when she asked "What IS a weekend?"

It looked like this:
And up until a few months ago, I would have asked the same thing. What is a weekend? What do you do with one?

I made a great change in my life. One that forced such questions on me. And it has taken quite awhile to realize it, but I changed jobs. 

I changed careers, really, in August, and I didn't tell you about it. I stayed basically silent because I didn't know the proper "how to's" that the circumstance required.
I didn't know how to tell my (former) co-workers; I didn't know how to share the news, so I basically skirted all of the issues.

Not until about Thanksgiving did I start to realize  the changes. I wasn't mashing potatoes with children for a 35(ish) guest feast at school. I wasn't brainstorming a secular, though recognizable, song to sing at a winter themed gathering. I wasn't teaching.

Sticking to my rules about being positive and not sharing things I haven't fully processed, I can't get into the "whys" of resigning from the teaching world. But I can say that I changed careers and it was (and is) a good thing. 

Now, I'm a writer--a copywriter. This too hasn't sunk in. When someone asks me what my job is, I go blank. I can't do my well practiced explanation of seven years:

I'm a teacher. I teach kids from 5 years to 12 years old. They are deaf and teach them to talk. No, I don't know sign language. Yes, they use devices like hearing aids or cochlear implants. 
(Can you imagine trying to explain this at parties? It was challenging.) 

Now what do I say? My new career is still in mental line to register as a job, so there's typically a long pause, and I ask myself, "What do I do?" It's an uncomfortable moment, but indicates how little the reality has dawned on me. 

To explain why my thoughts are so backed up, I am already a slow processor. Very very slow, especially with things that matter and will change my life. Maybe I am slower than the slowest snake at digesting things. And like them, I tend to swallow things whole instead of biting off more than I can chew. 

As a background, I've been working steadily full-time teaching at school, working internships on nights and weekends, working side jobs (wedding coordinating and Etsy store), volunteering, taking classes and applying for jobs for so long steadily working towards the goal of changing careers that I didn't know what a weekend was.

Then I actually changed careers and paused my University of Missouri St. Louis classes and wedding coordinating, and felt a gap open around me. You would think it would feel good, but it's like stepping out of a concert and hearing a ringing in your ears that isn't there. What should feel good is disorienting. 

Part of this disorientation lies in my growing awareness of the changes I set in motion. I have to label things out, since I didn't take the time (or couldn't take the time) in August. 

These are my work clothes.
This is my commute.
This is my alternate route to work.
This is my desk and computer and chair. 
These are my co-workers. 
This is a nice place for lunch.
This is the way to go home. 

If it sounds detached, it's because, for me, that's where I'm at emotionally. This time (and typically) I've not processed huge life changes. [And when I have taken the time, it backfired and missed opportunities that would have been open to me 4 days earlier.] So I jump and feel my way through later, which is something I'd like to unlearn.

But that is something I'll have to try next time. All I know now is, I have weekends. I have Saturdays and Sundays to think about this new career and possibilities and how I feel and think and wonder about everything that happened these last 6 months.