Back to School, Back to School

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Well, it is that time of the year. Back to school! All of my teacher friends are posting pictures of their remodeled classrooms and cute little printouts. Parents are writing about how sad they are that their babies are growing up. My students are posting first day pics with their best friends. The excitement is in the air! Of course, Facebook sends me reminders of what I was doing “on this day” for the past many years. It is fun to see the posts I shared about my new classroom, new students, and new courses. It definitely tugs at my heartstrings to know that that part of my life has passed. How strange it is to think that I finished school, started and thrived in a career, and left that field all before 30. And although I loved teaching so very much, I also know that it isn’t what is right for me. That was a hard truth to come to.

—Cue cheesy analogy!—

It is like breaking up with someone who, on paper, seems perfect for you. You share all of the same interests. You love spending time together. But, deep down in your soul, you know that person isn’t the one. You’re missing something vital. And when you end things, your heart breaks. You might enter another relationship but you’ll probably always think back on that heartache. The good times and the bad. So, while I often think about all of the incredible memories I made with my students AND the times parents ripped my head off, I know that that chapter was closed for a reason.

—Mmmmk. I’m done there. So sorry.—

So, while I feel confident in my decision to leave education, I really have no idea what I am SUPPOSED to do next. If you’ve been following my journey, you know that I have been recovering (is that a thing?) from the loss of both of my parents. I was hit really hard after losing my mom last February and my entire world flipped over. My husband and I left our lives in Utah and moved back to my home state, where we have sort of bounced around while he could secure the job he wanted. Now that we are somewhat settled (for now!) I am ready to make my next move. I feel like I’ve really learned how to manage my grief and keep my apathy, for the most part, pinned to the ground. So, what to do next?

One of my passions is healthy living. Both of my parents died before they turned 60. They made poor choices when it came to their health and those choices lead to a whole lotta pain. In a world where we control pretty much nothing, it is nice to know that we DO control what we do with our bodies. And while I have so much to learn and there are many changes to be made, I feel good about what I’ve learned so far and what I’ve been able to pass on to others as an online fitness coach. But for right now, I need more.

More what? The truth is, I’m not sure. I look around and see that things are nothing close to where I imagined they would be, even a year ago. My closest friends are accomplishing so much. Law school. Opening a gym. Babies. And while all of those things are incredible, they aren’t for me. If I’ve learned anything from losing my parents, it is that all I can be is my best self. It is the reason I work, every day, on my relationship with my husband. It’s why I try to eat well and workout. It is why kindness and faith and humility and authenticity are everything to me. It is my motivation to be a better friend and sister and human being, even when I fail at all of that. Because I know that where I’m supposed to be doesn’t matter. It is who I am, deep down, that truly makes a difference. To myself and to everyone else. So that’s it. Just be better. Do better.

So, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to go to grad school to pursue a Master of Science in Management and Leadership. Grad school has always been something that is important to me and it feels like now is the time to do this thing. And while I went back and forth on which route to take, I decided that online school is the perfect fit for our lives right now. I’m not sure what I’ll do once I’m finished with my degree. But I’ll just have to figure that out as I go. Because things change. life happens. New opportunities come every day. I’m both excited and overwhelmed by the challenge and at the opportunities that will come my way.

So, in the spirit of first days, here you go!

 

(Uh, is it a sign that the ad on this video is FOR grad school??)