September is here! Marked with the sounds of shiny school bells and cheerful chattering children, this season rings in a “new year” for students, teachers and parents alike; a new learning voyage and its learning treasures, just waiting to be discovered! In fact, this is all I’ve ever known for nearly my entire lifetime—18 years as an ever eager student and 18 years, to follow, as a passionate and dedicated educator. There hasn’t been a September since I first entered the educational system that I didn’t skip out the front door in a fresh new outfit, lunchbag in hand, ready to hit the books. Until this year, that is, when I requested a leave of absence from my classroom to explore life on my own terms.
What on earth causes a highly tenured teacher to pack up her classroom and step into the great unknown? Simply put, her heart. Her ginormous, overflowing creative heart and the deep tugging at her soul to step out of routine and outside of her comfort levels. The underlying knowing that life will continue on as she’s always known, if she doesn’t take a chance and switch things up a bit. The desire to leap at opportunities that have abound, and follow the passions that have gone from silently tapping, to fiercely knocking at her doorstep. The idea that maybe, just maybe, there is something more to life than repeating the same days over and over again, and that, perhaps, there’s an even greater abundance that could lie on the other side of all of it.
…maybe, just maybe, there is something more to life than repeating the same days over and over again…
Surely the rational minds have decided she’s having a mid-life crisis. The dreamers, however, know differently. There’s no doubt there will come a point in your life when you will recognize its impermanence, and with it will come the realization that you’re only given one shot to fulfill your life’s journey. But, it’s no breakdown to have come to know yourself better than you ever have, and decide you’re not messing around—it’s actually a breakthrough. You can choose to carry on as usual, ultimately restrained by fear of change, or you can honor your heart and take the road less traveled and figure out the destination as you go.
When you make decisions like these, those that are a little less conventional than some people can be comfortable with, it is very important to share you ideas, hopes, and dreams with people you know will support and encourage you. Sometimes this means compassionately detaching from those who may try to talk you out of your “crazy idea” based on their own life experiences and fears. Your story is not theirs. Reach out to your soul tribe and those people whom you know are your cheerleaders in life—you know who they are. Or, take the time to go inward and sit with the idea yourself, coming forward only when you feel strong enough in your own will to share. I did a little bit of both.
Now, don’t get me wrong, charting these unknown waters is as equally terrifying as it is exciting. Do I have a plan? Yes. Have I done my homework to make this leap? Diligently. Will it play out the way I hope it to? Maybe. Will I be completely carefree? Highly unlikely. Do I plan to work hard to make my own dreams and experiences come true? Absolutely. Above all, I hope I walk away from this experience a stronger person, with a sense of fulfillment for taking a risk, and as an inspiration for others to let them know they can do the same.
Just what have I charted on this course? Well, more than a few ideas and creative projects that I hope to grow and roll out over the next few months, and, of course, some tropical travel. I’d love to have you follow my journey here and via my online community of water lovers at www.facebook.com/stclairsurfwear if you’ll join me. I’ll take any of the encouragement and positivity I can get from this inspirational group of people that this blog so elegantly brings together.
And, just for the record, this really is no leave of absence. I’m totally coining this experience as my #leapofpresence—this has been one giant leap of faith and I don’t plan on being absent from anything at all!