It is a *perfect* day here.  After a stormy evening last night, the air is fresh, the grass is damp, and after the morning mist burned off, the sun is shining in a brilliant sky of blue overhead.  I started my day with some affections with Ray, and after he took off for work, I set to prepping my bedroom for my mom’s visit.  She’ll be taking my bed, and I’m going to set up shop in the basement guest room.  After a bit of cleaning, dusting, and vacuuming, my room feels like a pristine respite from the world.  I decided, while I started another load of laundry, to take myself out for a plate of eggs and bacon and fruit at the Country Cat Cafe, a local hot spot in my neighborhood.

As I was finishing my breakfast and sipping the remainder of my coffee, two women sat down at the bar with me.  After a few pleasantries, we got into a discussion.  One of the women is a social studies teacher for a local middle school.  The conversation led into teaching and such, and I revealed to them that I had aspired to be a high school English teacher not too long ago.  I still have all of the credentials, and could still step foot in a classroom today and teach a lesson.  As we talked, though, it dawned on me, in a way, that perhaps I am happier doing the work I’m doing now than I would be in a classroom.

As a teacher, when I was in England, it was two years (my first two years of teaching) that was spent fully immersed in my job.  I spent upwards of eighty hours a week in work mode.  Grading, planning, prepping, parent meetings, IEPs, teacher workshops, student well-being – all of these things consumed my life.  Then, it was a source of joy, for the most part, but I was young to the profession, and younger as a person.  I was thrilled to have a career, even though I didn’t have much of a life.

Today, while I still am capable of teaching, I am not.  I’m driving a bus for the local public transit company.  I work around thirty hours a week, and after a few months of scrimping by, I’m now making enough money to support myself and my life.  Because of the nature of my job, when I park that bus at the end of my day, I get to simply leave it all there and walk away.  I don’t take any of it home.  The most work I do outside of my actual job that still pertains to my job is make sure my schedule is posted on a shared calendar between Ray and I so that he and I can scheme and plan what we’re going to do outside of our work hours.  In this job, I have a life.  I have a balance in my life that I didn’t have in my early teaching years.  Sure, if I’d stuck with it, not only would I be years into my career, but I’d also have the rhythms and patterns down.  I’d have a reference library full of lesson plans and modifications to meet the needs of my students.  I would have a stockpile of things to fall back on, and would probably, just at this point, start having a life outside of work.

It hit me, over eggs and bacon and fruit and coffee, that maybe I’m contented with what I do to sustain my life.  Sure, it’s not glamorous, but it is a job.  It pays enough to keep me happy (and my creditors happy).  I don’t have the things that other near-forty-year-olds have (house, car, plenty saved for retirement), but I do have a smile on my face.  I had no idea that I’d be driving a bus at this point in my life, but then I didn’t know that being contented might take the shape that it has in my life.

One thought on “Over Eggs and Bacon

  1. Stay out of teaching if you want to keep that life!!! It does not get any better (at least not in the UK). The more you do the more that is expected.

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