By nightfall last night, all my optimism had abandoned ship, leaving me anxious (putting it mildly) and afraid.
It is obvious now that wherever I am, I can make myself miserable. And I tend to think “if only…” If only I moved back home. If only my head didn’t hurt. If only I wasn’t working here.
So it looks like I have the opportunity to return to Florida and teach in the same school system I just left. Either God or dumb luck has given me an open door, and I’m going to take it.
I must make changes in myself, however. Nothing will change – not my self-doubt, my ability to be happy, my negativity – until I make some internal changes. This entire experience has been extremely humbling. I am going back, with all my friends and family knowing I didn’t succeed. So I must make sure I have learned some important lessons.
Stay tuned as I work through those life lessons.
PS – The ship pictured in my last post is a destroyer. Which I found rather ironic when I used it, and today the irony of it grows.
PPS – The “if only” thing? Pointed out to me by my amazing cousin, who tells me the truth whether I want to hear it or not.
So this is what is making me crazy. Making me doubt myself. Driving me to tears and migraine.
I DON’T know how to live on $1500 a month. That’s gross, by the way, in more ways than one. As best I can tell, I am going to be working for just over minimum wage, no matter what I do. At least until and if I can get a teaching job, which may not be for quite some time.
At various points throughout the day today, the idea of living on so little has been intimidating, impossible, depressing, and just plain terrifying. It’s that black hole thing I wrote about yesterday. It can suck me in like a vacuum cleaner hose. And I definitely have been feeling the pull of the vacuum cleaner today.
Fortunately, God puts people in front of me (in my face, to be precise) who bring me the perspective I so sorely lack. Take Linda. As I sadly followed her around the grocery store today looking like the most pitiful thing on two legs, she reminded me of how very rich I am. People in other parts of the world would give anything to just have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. We are SOOO rich in this country, even when we are “poor” by American standards. We have no idea what it means to truly be impoverished. Linda has a way of being excruciatingly honest with me, which is why I ask her opinion and her advise. She has also been in much worse predicaments than I, so she knows whereof she speaks.
So, can I get by on $1500 a month? People do it here in the good old United States all the time. I think it will take some creative budgeting and relying on people to do for me (which is not how I was raised and I hate it). Is it the way I want to spend the rest of my life? No. But then again (perspective, please?) nobody said it would be the rest of my life.
It’s just for now.
One of the best ways to feel better about your life, or your present lot in life, is to just do something.
Not just anything. Crying, complaining, running away… not so much. Do something positive. Something that takes you, even if it’s in tiny baby steps, towards your goal. You do have a goal, right?
- Make a list. It could be a list of chores to finish, bills to pay off, jobs to apply for, health goals, or whatever gets you out of your black hole and towards the light.
- Create something. I don’t necessarily means arts and craftsy, although if that helps, go for it. Think of what you want and create something that will get you there. This may be a portfolio, a resume and cover letter, a budget plan, a menu of healthy meals, or a collection of photos of whatever it is you are aiming for to help you visualize your goal.
- Decide what steps are necessary to get from your black hole to wherever you want to be. For me personally, that means creating a resume, listing possible companies to work for, researching those companies, writing cover letters, mapping out routes to visit each of these places, and getting in my car and visiting each location. Your steps will be entirely unique to your situation and your personality.
- Start with the first step. Don’t look at the whole list and become overwhelmed. One step at a time.
- If your steps aren’t working, don’t give up. Go back, do a little thinking and some soul searching, praying if that works for you, and revise your steps. If what you’re doing isn’t working, don’t keep doing it. There’s a saying about that. Smart people (and you are one of them) don’t keep making the same mistake over and over again. They come up with a Plan B, Plan C, and so on until they find something that works. Learn from your mistakes.
- Talk to someone you trust who is a generally upbeat person. They will have the perspective you have lost while sliding down into that hole of self-doubt. And they may have some creative ideas that you had not thought of. Do this last step often and regularly!
Although becoming down and discouraged is normal when attempting something difficult, it does not have to be your downfall. Being down in the dumps is okay for a day or two, but don’t let it linger much past a couple days. You will get too comfortable down in that dark hole, sure that you will be there forever. And that leads to depression, which is much harder to climb out of.
I give you this advice based on my own experiences over the years. The past few weeks have given me lots of practice in staying optimistic and fighting off my negativity. Last night was a reminder to me that I must do something every day to work towards my goals.
Today has been a much better day.
I am so filled with self-doubt right now, I tried four different post titles, thought they were all awful, and ended up with “ugh”.
It has not been a good day. My daughter had (she thought) two job offers last week. So she turned down the job that she was actually offered for the job she thought she was getting, which would have been more fun. Today she found out she now has neither job.
This evening I sat with my list of twenty school districts, ten charter schools, and twenty-one private schools within a 45 minute drive. There is exactly ONE job opening I am qualified for.
I can feel the anxiety creep in. Then my mind starts what iffing all over the place. What if I had stayed where I was? What if I’d never told my child what a great idea it would be to go to school here. What if I hadn’t put in for a leave of absence? What if we just got in the car and drove back home?
Holy cow! No one knows how to make me crazy as well as I do. I can take the facts and totally ignore them until my stomach is in knots and my head is swimming. While contemplating how tightly wound I was becoming, I found this blog. It reminded me of several simple things I can do to bring my thinking back into a more realistic perspective.
Check it out. http://www.self-ish.net/2009/08/02/6-ways-to-squash-self-doubt/
Happy reading. And may God save me from myself. Sigh…