For the first time in a decade the first week of September has not induced “the fear” in me. Going back to work after a week’s holiday did not result in sleepless nights, panicked and anxious about returning, fretting about the months ahead. It was most welcome to feel ok and un-agitated about work. In fact I had a rather pleasant first day back, donning my post-grad gowns and attending a graduation ceremony in Harry Potter-esque surroundings as a member of staff. (Although I’m admin and not an academic, it was nice to be included!)
I managed to get up on Monday morning and leave home with a spring in my step and a twinkle in my eye. People say ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, but I tried that for 10 years and it was not doing me any favours. I did do it, I worked really hard at it and quite frankly it was making me ill. And I knew that change was needed. For a long time, but perhaps I also feared change. Teaching was what I did, it was what I knew, even if I didn’t enjoy it. It seemed impossible to break away from it. And I worried I would be going backwards, taking a step down… I was proud to be a teacher if nothing else, I thought it was something worthwhile. I was caught in a bubble of benchmarking, was I a failure for leaving the profession? Answer:no.
There are many paths to success and none of them have to be defined by your job title. For some people it may well be wealth, prestige, a high flying career… for others it could be raising a family and caring for others… it could be finding love and getting that happy ever after! Success doesn’t have to be identified by others expectations, I’d do well to remember that- although I think all the pressure came (still comes) internally from me in reality. Yes I still have something in me that thinks I could/should be doing something more, but what that is, well I’ve no idea. Because really, I’m much happier and in a far better place (emotionally, psychologically, generally) than I ever have been. And to me that’s got to be counted as success!