A year ago yesterday was the last day I taught in a classroom.
A year ago today, I sat in one of my favourite coffee shops looking down on the River Cam and wrote in a brand new blue moleskine notebook. With a green pen I had chosen specifically for that day, I wrote the following:
Another chapter finished. Yesterday was my final day teaching. I don’t know when I’ll step into a classroom again. Not knowing is good.
Building up to this day I had so many ideas as to what to do next. But today, the main feeling is relief and a deep tiredness. As if I have been holding something a very long time and I’ve finally been able to put it down. And now that my hands and heart are no longer carrying this something, this invisible burden I didn’t even realize I had accepted, I notice just how weary they are, how they ache.
So I sit. Gingerly flexing those sore arms and straightening my spine, I look blinkingly around – Where oh where have I landed?
It feels good to stop doing something I didn’t believe in. I didn’t understand how wearing such a compromise can be.
My mind’s a muddle. Not sure what paths to follow, what to prioritize, what to do. So maybe no path, no lists, no plans, no answers. Just wait.
I waited. I wrote. A lot. Here is a picture of the journals I’ve filled since last May.
I’ve developed a bit of a quirk in these journals. I only like writing on the right hand side of the page, but I hate the thought of a half-filled journal. So after I fill the journal on one side, I turn it upside-down and start writing the other way back to the beginning. This is what I mean:
Over the past year I wrote most days. And I have never felt better about it. I used to write only when I was tremendously happy, sad, or confused. Now I just write, no matter what. I’ve gotten into a habit of bookending the days with pen and paper. I sprawl across the pages in the morning before the house awakes and the day accelerates. I unwind on the pages at night when everyone is resting, dreaming. I try to find a few hours each week to write during the day while the kids are at school. I like the challenge of writing a blog post each week.
So, from the muddle that was last May, I’ve moved in a definite direction. I like to write, so that is what I will do. I’m upping the ante: I’ve signed up for an on-line Creative Non-Fiction and Personal Essay course. It started just over a week ago. There are 8 other people in the class, from all around the world, and we write and share something once a week. I’m working on a collection of stories/essays about the Rocky Mountains. 10 weeks, 10 stories. Then I’ll think about what to do next. In the meantime, I’m having a ball.