Monday, August 17, 2009

A new purpose

As someone who had been either a student or a teacher in academia since I was four years old, the end of August marks a specific timecode for me: the start of school. In whatever capacity, I have returned to school in the fall for the past 29 years of my life, with the exception of the year I took off between undergrad and grad school. And this year, of course. And it's weird.

I'm not entirely sad, but I have an inkling that I will miss the students, which are my favorite part of teaching. Each one is unique and a little odd, which I absolutely enjoy. I will miss talking about the things I'm passionate about, especially Creative Writing. I will miss being part of a campus community, which I really enjoyed last year at Metro. I will miss the paycheck and benefits.

I know that I'm far from being done; in fact, I joke with my husband that my career will probably not start till I'm over 35, so in the reality of this context, I really haven't even begun. I'm still waiting for that job that's worth missing- the complete package- and I'm willing at this point to wait for it.

But it is a bit surreal, says my biological clock, that it's fall and I'm not stressed out about syllabi, class lists, first assignments, etc. On the other hand, it's my biological clock that presented me with the ultimate imperative, who is turning three months in three days, named Celeste. And my poetry calls to me desperately: nurture ME. Publish ME. Make more of ME.

My mother described it today as a "melancholy" emotion, in the context of watching some element of the world move on without you. I think this is a wonderful adjective, especially as it applies. We always want to be an important element of something, and when that something moves on, seemingly unscathed, without us, we wonder about our purpose in both the large and small scheme of things. Purposes shift, though, and embracing this will surely be my saving grace.

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