I spent much of the weekend in fear: what have I gotten myself into; I’m in over my head; what was I thinking? Which triggers the normal reactions (in me, it’s flight, not fight): this is too tiring and too hard; I can’t do this; what if I don’t really want to do this?
Talking it out sort of helped, but what really got me over it was reading. Some of the library books I had, from a past gluttonous trip to check out nearly every offering on childhood literacy, were due. I sped-read through my Sunday. There are a few books that cause me to calm down and get excited simultaneously. These are books which speak of child development, how we learn, and classroom environments that foster empowerment and curiosity. In reading these books, I cannot help but start to think of ideas for our future classrooms and our future lessons together.
I read once that a key to knowing what you are meant to do is if you continually have questions about it. Curiosity is a divining rod, capable of pointing you to buried riches (“of the soul”), if you are pure of intention and honest with yourself.
The other part of my fear dissipated when I went back to work Monday morning and came face to face with the harsh realities of our sinking economy. The design firm I work at (and countless other businesses around the nation, the world) is staggeringly different from what it was six months ago, and we are cutting again. I’m conflicted about all of it. While it pains me to watch colleagues lose their jobs and struggle with their new circumstances, I’m not sad that it is due to the fact that all retail development has dried up. That was half of our business; and it has stopped dead in its track in most of the world. I cannot weep that there will now be fewer mega-malls and condos in our midst.
Our nation is finding its way again. Our industries are readjusting. I cannot speak with any authority on the economic woes that plague us, but I do get the sense that there is so much left to do.
I get the sense that we have too many businesspeople and not enough teachers, too many entrepreneurs and not enough humanitarians, (in Texas) too many chemical engineers working for Big Oil and not enough civil engineers building bridges. It will be difficult for many people who are losing their jobs to find another one in their field—maybe simply because the field needs to change. Your old job may not be needed in this new world, but maybe a retooling of your industry or a rethinking of your skillset can be useful.
My conversations with friends who have recently lost jobs nearly always end with “there are so many people worse off than us, we are still lucky.”
Social responsibility, poverty, disease, infrastructure, urban planning, peace, education, healthcare, the environment, etc., etc., etc….take your pick: there is a lot to do. Comfort zones be damned, our world deserves better.