Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A phonecall with my gran

I think I have written recently about my decision to discontinue my uni studies. Basically, although I managed to finish my prac and get pretty good evaluations, the toll on my body and mental health was pretty immense.  I realised that realistically, I am not going to be able to work full time as a teacher any time soon. Which leaves me with the options of trying to find a part-time position when I graduate (near on impossible as a new graduate in this field) or work as a substitute teacher which is a) not what I want to do, it's not the same as being a 'real' teacher and b) would be logistically difficult as I am unable to drive and you can be called on any given moment to work at any given place in the city. I love teaching, and I love working with kids, but the workload of a teacher (inspite of what people think about the "extra holidays" and shorter hours, is quite big. A significant amount of time spent outside of working hours doing prep, marking, planning, extra curricular supervision and professional development. It just doesn't fit in with the sort of lifestyle I need to maintain in order to best protect my health.

This was a hard decision to come to. It's been a dream for so long, and I have invested so much time and energy into it. And, in part, it was me holding on to the person 'I used to be' rather than accepting my current limitations and need to look after myself. I can't do the 9-5 thing like an average person, but I'm coming to realise, that doesn't shut down all opportunities or make me any less of a productive member of society unless I allow myself to think like that.

Even though the most improtant step was for me to get to a place where I wasn't judging myself for these percieved shortcomings, another factor that came into play was worrying about what other people would think, especially my family.

I felt a lot of pressure from my family as the family academic to do well, go to uni and get a good job. When I was diagnosed with the epilepsy, and when my mental health started to become a problem, I felt as though I was letting them down. I was trying desperately to live up to the story that had been created for my life. When I made the decision to drop my studies I felt like they would think I was being lazy and not living up to my potential. In the last few weeks I have had some heart to hearts with my mum, and tonight, my gran about this issue. They both claim that they just waant me to be happy and healthy and they don't care what I'm doing, as long as this is the outcome. I don't think they are being completely honest with themselves. I think on a certain level they are disappointed. But maybe its more a case of being disappointed for me rather than in me. And, through these conversations and others with my various mental health professionals, I am beginning to realise that a lot of the pressure and expectation I am feeling I have been placing on myself. Ultimately in the end, if I can continue to show them the sense of relief I have felt because of this decision and the positive effect it is having on my well being, and if I can go and get part-time work that is more conducive to the lifestyle I need and want to live, then they will truly realise I have made the right choice.

I feel such a great sense of light heartedness and relief having put this on the table to them, and such a feeling of support from them... it's wonderful.

As for myself... I have to keep reminding myself.
-I am an intelligent, hardworking person with one uni degree to name already
-I have a lot to contribute to the world
-I don't have to contribute this in the 'traditional'' 9-5 manner
-Living a good, healthy, balanced life is more important than the popular view of career success
-The right job is out there for me, I just need to stay true to what I need from a job, and when I find that position they will be lucky to have me, because I am loyal to the end and I work my ass off.

And...... I am so lucky to live in a country where, I can work part-time and the Government will subsidise the rest of my income, because it is evident that I am doing the best I can, rather than sitting on my laurels (and there may be times when my best is just keeping my head above water and not working at all...and that's okay too).

So, peeps... I am on a new path.... I don't expect to find this job straight away, and I am prepared for knockbacks while I try and find this perfect-fit position. But I have options and the growing support of most my family and friends.... life is starting to look up. I'm opening myself up to achievable goals rather than setting myself up for failure and then beating myself up when it inevitabley happens.

Peace and love
p.s. I am 9 visits away from reaching 5000 views on this blog. Small fries compared to some of the fab other blogs out there... but for this little blog of my ramblings, that I never really expected anyone to find, let alone read loyally.... wow... tickles me a little. I'm pretty pleased to meet this milestone, just short of my first blog-iversary. Thanks for all your great comments and support and sticking with me, even when I have disappeared for weeks at a time. You guys rock!


  1. I think this is an amazing post. I think it is a brave and healthy thing to do what is best for you rather than stumbling along a path of what you feel you "should" do. I'm so glad that those around you are being supportive.

    good luck! x

  2. Wow, it's great that you have come to a decision that puts your health before the expectations of others. That takes a lot of strength and wisdom. I'm sure you'll be able to find a job that suits you.

    Wishing you well,

    PS- I would be honored if you were to visit my blog,

  3. I hear you on the thing with teaching. It's hard work, and I don't know why I'm going into it, to be honest.