Life Is Changing…

I have been a bit MIA for the past couple of weeks and while it wasn’t fully intentional, it was a bit needed.

As I mentioned Devon and I were going away for our anniversary this past week, which was so relaxing and fun and we both really enjoyed it. But, my intention was to have content planned for my absence, which didn’t happen.

June became a much busier month than I intended for it to be. I knew it was going to be a lot, because it always seems to be, but it wound up being much more than I anticipated.

I knew June was going to be insanely busy because of a couple of big life changes that are happening around here. One of them is the fact that we’re getting ready to move in the next few weeks/month or so, which is a whole headache and a half in itself and is something that I’m going to go into more detail about in the next week or so. A few of you have asked what’s happening with the move because I haven’t really talked about it (outside of saying we’re doing it) and I haven’t but I will soon.

The other life change is a bit more significant in terms of day-to-day life, at least for me. It’s also the one I’ve kept pretty quiet about.

And no, I’m not pregnant…at least I don’t think so. Maybe…unclear…but at least not what I’m talking about right now.

For those who like to just get to the punch line of stories: I quit my job in February.

If you are new around here or unaware, I am a high school counselor and have done that for 7 years and have been at my current school for 2 years.

Obviously there’s a longer story than me just randomly up and quitting my job. It was a long decision-making process for me, that really started around Christmas-time. There has been a lot going on, some of which I can’t really talk about for privacy and confidentiality purposes.

But, what I can say is that: this school year was incredibly stressful. But not typical educator school year stressful. Every school year has stress involved throughout the year, we go into this field knowing this and expecting and, hopefully, learning how to deal with it.

But this level of stress wasn’t normal and I wasn’t doing well with it.

Around Christmas break, when we were out of school for two weeks was really when I realized that I was really stressed out and kind of anxious. Oddly enough because those two weeks at home were the first days in months I didn’t wake up feeling stressed out and anxious.

Crazy, right?

Christmas breaks are always relaxing, but this one was almost life changing. Around that time I had an idea that maybe I’d throw some feelers out for new positions for next year, just to see what would happen. I wasn’t actively searching for anything or being really open about it, but just exploring.

The next couple of months, the stress continued and actually even escalated. I really got to a point where I kind of didn’t want to go to work in the morning and like would intentionally take the long way there to give myself a few extra minutes, or like stop at Dunkin Donuts even though I didn’t really need to (and probably drink a lot more frozen hot chocolates than I need to, even though they are life-bringers).

Everything kind of came to a head at the end of February where I basically just said; I’m done. I’d already said I was returning next year, but that wasn’t enough to get me to actually stay; and I resigned effective the end of my current contract.

The moment when I came home and said to Devon; I’d work at Target before I work in this building another year, was pretty much my lightbulb moment. I would rather do anything than this.

Before anyone gets mad, I’m not knocking people who work at Target; they’re a great company to work for and every job is important and has a purpose.

My job felt like it was sucking the life out of me. The stress and the anxiety were killing me, almost literally as my blood pressure had been steadily rising this school year and got to a pretty high number around this time that scared me a bit.

The only thing that gave me any relief was handing in that letter of resignation.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to leave my students, They are amazing young people who need someone in their corner who will be supportive and understanding and I did everything I could do to create as much normalcy and support for them even though I, some days, would have rather been anywhere but there. They didn’t know I had handed in my letter and I had no intention of telling them until close to the end of the year.

Despite my resignation; nothing really changed in terms of my stress/anxiety and I feel like the issues I was involved in actually became a little worse to deal with.

Finishing out this year was incredibly difficult and took a lot more out of me than I ever thought a school year could, which is why I was so absent for the past couple of weeks. I was cleaning out my office and renewing my private practice license with the state of Maryland and just processing everything that’s happened which made me a bit introspective and more introverted than I normally am.

Again, I realize I’m being vague in some of this because I have to be; not only because I’m still technically under contract with this school through August, but because there’s no good that will come out of being specific.

What I will say is that this year showed me that I need to take a step back from education for the time being. There are some things going on in it and aspects of it that I just can’t be part of right now for my own professional and personal sanity and to keep me from completely burning out (because I’m at least partially burnt out at this point).

While I am taking a step back from education, I’m not stepping back from counseling. My Masters that I received also has a clinical counseling component which means I can be a private practice counselor. I can work for an agency, state departments, therapy firms, etc. My credentials aren’t limited to only school settings.

So, I am going into private practice. My ultimate goal is to be own boss and have my own LLC practice that I control my hours, fees, who I see, etc. Before I can do that, however, I need to finish some supervision hours that I didn’t complete a couple of years ago which is completely fine. I’d prefer to get a good feel of how this works in an agency setting before going off completely on my own.

In the next month or two I will begin working for a private agency and I am really excited. I feel like I haven’t been this excited about the field in a long time and I think this change is going to be really good for me; professionally and personally.

This isn’t me saying that I’m moving away from the education field forever, but I do think I need to step away for awhile and just be a therapist and help people who need it and be that supportive and understanding person for teens and families in a different setting.

With this past year now firmly behind me, I’m looking forward to the future and seeing my career take on a new life and all the new challenges that come along with it. Changing paths can be a little scary (and this is) but I’m so excited to get into this and see where it takes me!

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