I didn't get in to the first program -- the Teacher in Residency -- on which I had my hopes and heart set. I didn't even apply to the second and third and fourth programs I looked at. I fell into despair and spent a black month feeling wasted and old and useless.
I colored my hair crimson.
I pulled on my big girl panties and did some research and figured out that totally changing directions at age 41 is hard, but not impossible. If I want to teach science, I can teach science, but the powers-that-be are not going to simply accept my assurance that I know enough. I need proof that I have knowledge to share. So I'm going back to college to get what will essentially be a second bachelor's degree in Science (with an emphasis in Chemistry). Once I've fulfilled about 2 years worth of requirements, I'll apply to the Teacher's Ed program and move forward. I'm calling it a four year plan. I can do this.
My husband is sceptical. He, too, is feeling old, mostly because he's been working more than full time all along. He recently started using the word "retirement" and talking about how we'll have an empty nest in nine years. I believe he has visions of the two of us travelling and just hanging out together after the kids have gone off to college. The idea of me starting a career right now messes with his plans.
Relaxing into the ease of that life -- my current life -- is tempting. No struggling to learn calculus. No dealing with fractious parents who are offended by my teaching style. Traveling and adventuring without concern for the calendar. Those are gifts he's offering me.
I can't accept them.
I need to contribute, somehow. I've waited a long time to get to this point. There's been a whole behind-the-scenes process of self rediscovery that had to happen before I could even start the application process. I've fought to get to this point, and I know I want to teach. I always have.
Besides, what else would I do? A friend recently posited that I could write, not just for my blog or occasional online prompts, but really write, for publication. I'd never considered that. Honestly? I've never believed enough in myself. Lately I've been reading a lot of other peoples' work, and I can truthfully say that some of my writing is better. And I have my friend's assurance that I really do write well enough to maybe even sell some of my words. So that will be my fallback. It's good to have a back up plan. In the meantime I'll be studying algebra on Khan Academy this summer, and in the fall I'm signing up for Chemistry, Geography, and Biology.
I'm looking forward to it.