This is the first time I’ve ever been uncertain about my future. Ever.
Sure, there have been times when I didn’t know how I was going to pay for rent, or when I didn’t think I’d have enough food to get through payday. There were some times in college where I lived in my car and where I was concerned my grades would slip. In high school I’m sure I worried about boys and work and friends. I’m sure there have always been concerns, but those things were always small in comparison to the goals that never wavered. And I’ve always had clear goals. Get through school. Get your degree. Start your career. No matter how bad things got, there was never a time where I didn’t have a much larger, much more important aspiration that overshadowed any doubts. My life has never been without purpose.
I am not a person who allows backtracking. I refuse to wake up one morning and realize that I am less than what I once was. It’s just not in me. So every milestone in my life has been built atop the achievements that came before and with the aspirations of what will come after. Junior High looked towards High School. High School looked towards College. College and all of my jobs were a stepping stone towards a career that meant everything to me. There was always a goal. A plan. And I hit every mile stone one right after another without a hiccup. Until this point, as far as I’m concerned, I have been unstoppable.
But things are changing, and for the first time in my life I am uncertain about my future. My husband and I have been aware that we’ve needed to make a change for a long time now, and no matter my reservations I will not force him to live a life in which he is unhappy so that I may remain in comfort. I do not question the fact that we need to move and put down roots away from where we currently reside. However… with the change is fear. There are no open teaching positions in the area we are moving to, and there is no guarantee that any will open up soon.
It might sound silly to you, but there’s a chance I won’t be teaching next year and I feel my soul breaking just thinking about it. It’s heart-wrenching now, and I’m perfectly aware that I still have four more months of wonderful teaching experiences ahead of me. So how much worse can this pain be?
I’ve worked my entire life to find out what it was I was made to do. Now that I’ve not only figured it out but achieved it, can I go back to waiting tables or working retail? Will I be able to survive in a world that does not have a classroom in it? For the first time in my life, will I have to take a deliberate and obvious step backwards in the hope that a happier life can be achieved sometime in the future? I don’t know how to do that. I’ve never gone backwards before. I’ve never taken a step that was not firmly on the path forward that I had already mapped out and memorized. But now, for the first time, I must try.
Faith is not a foreign concept to me, but I have always known that the world owes me nothing and that any achievements that come must be made by own hand. People always tell me “Don’t Worry. It will work out. It always has before.” And I don’t know how to explain to them that the reason it’s always worked out before is because I worked incredibly hard to make sure it would. My life has always been in my hands. But I don’t know how to grasp at this future and mold it into something more worthy of my goals. For the first time in my life, the path is not clear.
This… This must be what terror feels like.