Tuesday, January 22, 2008

New Beginning

I feel so overwhelmed by the thought of radical change. I know a huge part of my failure to achieve the things I'd hoped to accomplish in my life by now is the fact that I tend to stay with the familiar. I am more comfortable staying in my rut, complaining about how much I dislike being in it, than jumping out into the unknown.

Since having children, my fear of taking risks has grown exponentially. I realize now that I've spent the last ten years accepting the situation because it was known and safe. I have used the excuse that I don't want to risk the well-being and security of my family (at least in the short term) by taking chances and jumping out into a financial free fall. Meanwhile, I have effectively backed myself and my family into a corner as far as long-term goals go.

I now owe MORE money on my student loans than I did when I graduated in 1997, thanks to several forbearances I'd taken out when things got really tight. So, I've paid more than $10K toward my loans, but owe $10K more than I did a decade ago. Damn that compounding interest! My student loans are the single biggest factor that prevented us from being able to buy a home of our own.

I know things have to change...they MUST change! I can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. I believe someone said that is the definition of insanity. I'm tired of being nuts when it comes to this stuff!

So, time to mix it up, get a little wild and crazy,and figure out a new road to take that will have a different destination.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

More About Why

My need to get unstuck revolves around issues more complex than simply my dissatisfaction with my income. Certainly, I am unhappy with the lack of "financial progress" I've made in the past 10 years, however, it goes beyond that.

In a decade of worrying about paying the bills and trying to stay afloat financially, I've allowed a lot of things to slip. I have missed opportunities to grow new friendships. I have allowed old friendships to wither. I spent so much time and energy worrying about "stuff" that I found myself growing more and more isolated from the people and things I enjoy. Sad, huh?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Where I'm Coming From

A little background as to why I felt it was time to unstick myself. I am in my 10th year teaching elementary school, a mother of two school-age daughters and a new baby boy, and an all-around suburban hermit. This wasn't always me. Once upon a time I dreamed of adventure, excitement, and doing SOMETHING that felt relevant and significant.

I know, I know, teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world, next to parenting...blah blah blah. I am burnt, completely toasted when it comes to my career. I truly believe the only thing worse than a bad teacher is a burned out teacher. That would be me. It is an icky feeling to know I am only giving a fraction of myself to the students in my class. The scary thing is, I am good at my job...damn good. I have always received many requests from parents to have their children placed in my room. My reputation is excellent. My students love me. So, it makes me sad to know that I should be giving it so much more. What an amazing teacher I would be at this point, with ten years of experience and an apparent gift for the job. The thing is, it's hard to maintain the passion for this profession when, after all these years, I am still living paycheck to paycheck...still struggling financially...still waiting to feel like a grown up. (Sigh)