- Wear capris (in 6th grade I remember walking through a JC Penney with my cousin when capris first came out again...I thought they were the dumbest excuse for pants)
- Enjoy the sound of a well-picked banjo (in my younger years, punk music could often be heard blaring from the crappy speakers of my 1983 Acura)
- Run a marathon (I was a sprinter in high school)
- Stay in Nebraska (I had big aspirations of becoming an actress in Chicago or New York)
- Hold a full time job (after reading Kerouac and Steinbeck, I dreamed of being a wanderer pausing here and there to work odd jobs)
- Become a foster parent (five years ago we attended 2 hours of an 8 hour foster-parenting workshop, and I left at the lunch break sobbing and swearing I could NEVER be a foster parent)
- Become a teacher (the Peace Corps was more up my alley back in my high school days)
- Settle down (see bullet 4)
- Crave bacon (I was a vegetarian for two years...and now I LOVE bacon)
- Miss living in a small town (I love Omaha, but a lot of times I feel cramped and just need to stretch out my legs, breathe in fresh air, and hear only the sound of gravel beneath my feet)
This is just an abbreviated list of things I thought I'd never do. Some of these are insignificant but others on the list are such huge pieces of my identity. I cannot picture my life without running. It's just about the only activity that allows me to feel...clean. I know that sounds crazy, but running to me is so pure. There's not much to taint it (other than eating macaroni and cheese before a 3 mile run in 91 degree weather with humidity that instantly sticks to your face), and it's an incredible detox from a crappy day. Though I'm weirdly in love with Portland and the Pacific Northwest, Nebraska has such a diverse landscape from end to end. Its wide open spaces have a way of forcing me into myself. I always imagined I'd marry young, but I never thought I'd have a desire to lay down roots. I think marriage has a settling effect on a person, and the longer I'm married, the more I long for a sense of community to share with my husband.
Today I can add another one to the list: I never thought I would accept a full time English job for the 2013-2014 school year.
I resigned from my teaching position in Gretna last year (a district with an incredible leadership team) ready to be done with teaching English maybe forever. There were a lot of factors that played into my sudden nervous breakdown and early mid-life crisis, but the main issue was that I really wanted to have more time. So I resigned and swore that I'd substitute teach for a year until I figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. As the school year approached, I wasn't sad about my decision like I thought I would be. I felt relieved. Our lives have been absolutely nuts since we've become full time foster parents. Our little boy is wonderful, but he's also exhausting and challenging.
Then on Friday morning, someone from HR at Omaha Public Schools called to schedule an interview with me, but she wouldn't tell me for which position. I figured it couldn't hurt to interview; I actually kind of like interviewing (is that weird?!). So on Monday I interviewed twice--once at HR and once at Burke High School where Nate teaches. At the end of the interview, the principal offered me the position. Rather than being excited, I wanted to cry when I left. The last thing it seemed I needed was a full time English position. But Nate and I talked through our options until we fell asleep that night. This morning I made four pro's and con's lists and then threw them all away. I sent a few emails, made a few calls, read a few Psalms, prayed a bunch, played the "what-if" game until my head hurt and then called to accept the position. While I'm nervous about the balancing act, I'm excited to be in the same school as Nate, to have only one prep, to teach some cool books, to work with diverse students, etc. etc. I start tomorrow--about a week later than the other new teachers, and kids start in one week. Nothing like hitting the ground running.
What's funny is that the things that we think we need the least, often become significant components of our lives...like bacon. Perhaps this sudden change in plans will be like that for me. Time will tell.