When you stop trying to cover your entire life up with activities and business and noise, you never really know what you’ll find.
I wish I could say that this whole “31 days to listen” thing was opening up space for me to experience peace and joy and count my blessings and all that. To be perfectly honest, it’s kind of revealing a level of discontent with my current state of life that I wasn’t previously aware of and am certainly not comfortable with.
Our blessings are abundant. So why is it that I feel so discontent in this moment?
I feel terribly discontent in my job right now. Which is absolutely ridiculous. It is an amazing job. I work in a great school district, with awesome students, for administrators who are kind and supportive and absolutely in education for the right reasons. I make more money than I’ve ever dreamed about making. And I know a whole lot of teachers who can’t find work right now at all, ones who are absolutely passionate about teaching, whose hearts are broken for not being in the classroom. And here I sit with this job that has all the components of greatness, and I feel as though I’m being so ungrateful by saying I’m discontent with it. I’m fairly pissed off at myself for being able to say that, actually. I feel like I should be able to suck it up and just enjoy the job based on gratitude for God’s provision. Based on being able to spend my days with kids and love on them (the part of the job I actually do enjoy). But half the time, I resent having an agenda hanging over my time with them. I resent having to be on task, when what I’d really like to be doing is just living life with these kids, talking with them and hanging out with them and, for lack of a better term, playing with them.
I think I knew this when I was young. Teaching music was that obvious thing for me, the thing everyone said I should do, because it’s stable and I’d be good at it, since I love kids and I love music. I remember fighting that for so long. My parents will attest to this. I spent the entirety of high school and the first two years of college firm in my decision that teaching wasn’t for me, despite everyone around me telling me that was where I belonged. I pursued psychology during community college.
Looking back, I can’t even tell you exactly what made me change my mind. I wasn’t loving my psych classes, I remember that much. And had no idea what I would have done outside of that. So when I left community college and started my junior year at Southwest Baptist University, I enrolled as a music education major. And the rest is history. And I don’t regret that decision, because I absolutely LOVED being a music major. Loved it with every fiber of my being. Loved the things I learned, the experiences I had; most of all, loved the people I spent my days with.
And maybe that’s the blessing that came from that decision. Maybe the ultimate purpose behind my being a music education major wasn’t actually so that I would be a teacher for the rest of my life. Maybe God gave me that experience so I could have all the people and moments that went with it. The things that I loved, and still love.
Because now, with almost an extra decade under my belt, I can think of at least ten things I would have done, outside of psychology and music education.
And I hate that this would probably come as a shock to most of the people around me. Because I’ve done a really excellent job on putting on the “I’m doing what I love” mask. Partly because there are legitimately moments when I love aspects of what I do. And partly because at the end of the day, I’ve been engrained with this mentality that says, “Suck it up. You’re a grown-up now, and loving a job has nothing to do with doing it. This is what you chose, so you might as well get on board.”
And maybe there’s some truth to that. Maybe one day I’ll grow up and realize that the notion that I should spend my time doing something I’m passionate about was something naive and immature. Maybe I’m just holding on to the last shreds of my childhood.
I hate that I’m judging this as it comes out. I’m terrible at just saying how I’m feeling without editing myself, without apologizing for how I’m feeling with all my knowledge of how I should be feeling.
As of today, this is where I stand:
I love students. And I love music. And I don’t love teaching.