Today I attended a professional development workshop dedicated to creating Shakespeare curriculum, and as I sit in the airport waiting for my delayed flight, I’m full of all kinds of exciting ideas and plans. I know that when I get to work tomorrow and start planning my lessons for next week I’ll find my way back to the reality of how overwhelming it is to teach 300+ students, but for this moment, I’m feeling pretty excited about the future.
I’ve been noticing this excitement growing, over the past few weeks. After surviving my first semester as a full time teacher, I came back from Winter Break not exactly dreading my job (which was a huge improvement on how I felt about it before the break.) After February Break, I came back to my classes with some really fantastic ideas about future curriculum—not quite excited about teaching, but definitely not dreading it. And after the advent of my upper school acting club last week and the dawn of my school-wide devising project, I would say I’m actually bordering on looking forward to classes. (Which is a big deal.)
But what is an even bigger deal, I’ve realized over the past couple of weeks, is that for the first time in my entire life, I am thinking about my career. This might seem like a pretty odd thing for someone with a masters degree to say—why get the masters if you’ve never thought about a career, one might ask. Of course I’ve thought about a career in a theoretical way; in the misty, cerebral way that all millennials think about these things, wandering from decision to decision because we’re not quite sure what else to do with ourselves. But this year I am finally seeing my path laid out in a way I can realistically follow.
This has caused me to start simultaneously questioning, and also receiving assurance. I spent a large part of the last few years searching for roots. I remember saying, “I’m just tired of not putting down roots—I want to know where I’m supposed to be, and what I’m supposed to be doing.” I think I always thought that roots meant a place—a city or a house that was mine, that I could invest in, that I could belong to. And of course a husband and potentially a family to go with it. But over the past months, and especially the past few weeks, something has changed in me, and I realize that I have begun to grow some roots. It’s just that the roots are not at all what I expected. Instead of being a place, these roots are a seed of creativity—opportunity and expertise in something I love, and a way to map out the journey.
Looking back, I can see that the Lord led me to pursue the things I love, because I certainly didn’t do it intentionally. All of the decisions that led me into theater education were practically unintentional, in my blind wandering. It wasn’t until I was actually in grad school that I suddenly realized: OH, I’m good at this. The first time I knew I had real, tangible intelligence was while talking with my advisor at NYU. I know how crazy that sounds, but life is a trajectory not just of opportunities, but also of self-esteem and self-confidence. And, like in many things, I was a late bloomer.
But back to this idea of roots. Maybe it’s crazy, but it just occurred to me—tonight—that perhaps, right now, my roots are not in my home, but in my career. Which probably sounds scary, like I’m about to be that insane loner career woman who isn’t open to relationships because they’ll slow me down (and I’ll probably get a phone call from one of my siblings telling me that I shouldn’t shut myself off from relationships just because I don’t happen to be dating anyone right now. Don’t worry, sibs, that’s not what I mean.) I think a “calling” simply means the place where one is, and the place where I am right now is a place where I have the opportunity, the energy, and the inspiration for some pretty exciting teaching and arts adventures.
Of course I’m still invested in the people around me, and in my church, and in my family. But as I am about to turn 27, I have begun leaving behind much of the unsureness that accompanied me up till this point, and instead trusting my training and my instincts. I am growing excited about the opportunities and the dreams springing up. For the first time in my life I know what I want for my career and I know how to get there--and that is very exciting.
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Open and Unafraid
David O. Taylor