So, I ended up being really good at teaching biology, but teaching can be pretty thankless. Complaints from parents outweighed appreciation. There always seemed to be an article online about “how teachers are failing your kids,” and when I started adding up the hours I spent planning, tutoring, coaching soccer and lacrosse, and grading (accounting for time off as well), I felt pretty ripped off (of course, no surprise there, people I don’t even know seem to enjoy bringing up that teachers don’t make big bucks– Rude).
So despite my accomplishments in the classroom, halfway through my second year, I found myself skimming Facebook, jealous of everyone. Why did everyone else seem rich? “Off to Spain!” “Australia here I come!” Maybe they weren’t rich. Maybe I was too financially responsible… hmm. How much money could I have saved for travel if I wasn’t putting 10% into my 401k at work and another 5% into my Edward Jones account? Wait… what if these people do that and still have enough to travel the world? What if they invest even more than I do? They probably do. Maybe they don’t have any student loan debt. Maybe their jobs just pay amazingly well. I’m never going to be able to afford to travel. It wasn’t just the traveling. I saw pictures of posh new apartments, expensive looking dinners and drinks and I had quite the inferiority complex. I tried reminding myself that people like to post the good stuff on Facebook (including myself) and that can create a false image of ridiculously-awesome-life-ness but it didn’t help much. One day I was whining to my boyfriend, maybe crying just a little, about how everyone seemed to be doing better than me and he so kindly reminded me of all my accomplishments as a teacher and also added on something that stuck: “You can always change things, if it’s really bothering you.” A few weeks later I was submitting my application for graduate school. I got accepted to a master’s program in biology at Clemson University. I’ll be done with that May ’15 and it will come with a nice raise. More money and continuing to do what I love? Yes, please.
Eventually I started feeling good about my life again. I was moving forward and setting myself up for better things in the future. Facebook left me actually feeling happy for people and their accomplishments/travels instead of wallowing in self pity. I ended up digging up an old bucket list I had saved on my computer and made a point to actually start working toward accomplishing some things on it:
In no specific order:
1) hold a baby pig
2) travel to at least 2 different continents
3) teach an awesome lesson on evolution
4) write and publish (or not) a fiction novel
5) live in a home that I love
6) refine my artistic skills
7) play the cello again
8) play lacrosse, casually, after undergraduate
9) Go to a USA World Cup Soccer match (may combine with#2)
Short list. I had planned to add to it, but I sometimes have issues finishing what I start (we shall see the fate of this blog). Upon examining this list, I was pleased to find I could actually cross a couple of things off. #3, done times three. Now, when I originally made the list, I imagined I would be teaching that evolution lesson at the college level but since I was not specific, mission accomplished! #8, done. One-upped, actually. Not only do I get to casually play, I get to teach some great young women about the game while heading up the varsity program at work. I zeroed in on number four. I’ve always loved writing (and art and music as other items on the bucket list reflect) but I have always catered to logical pursuits. At the time I was viewing the bucket list, I had 6 incomplete supposed-to-be-novels/short stories on my laptop and when I say incomplete, I mean these range from 5 to 232 pages of dribbling prose with little direction (well, the 232 page had a direction, but not a very interesting one).
A few months ago I made the decision to approach novel writing correctly. I actually did some research and learned from people with more experience than I. I also made a Pinterest board for writing inspiration and tips because that’s what you have to do before starting any big project or planning any big event. So far I have a bare-bone outline for the entire novel, a detailed outline for the first fourth of the book or so and 29 pages of the first draft. I’m really excited and I love the crazy path that brought me to trying to write this book the right way. I figure when I finish writing it, I’ll either get it printed and bound and put it on my bookshelf (and my mom’s) or actually attempt to get it published. I’ll be pleased if I can just say I completed a coherent long work, start to finish. Writing the book is what lead me to creating this blog. It seems a huge tip from all writers is to write everyday. I intend to do that but I also want a place to write casually and track my progress, hence, the blog. I imagine my blog posts will be a happy medley of my experiences with writing, teaching, coaching, and life in general– expect extra commentary on the World Cup June – July. 🙂
Wanna see that Pinterest board? Writing Tips and Inspiration