Sunday, May 18, 2014

Follow Your Dreams [Right out the Window]

Have you ever seen Mike and Molly? I've always enjoyed the simplicity and light humor of the show (and the fact that the characters don't look like skinny models who stepped out of fashion magazines), but this most recent season has propelled me from somewhat enjoying the show to downright loving it. To understand why, watch this clip (it's only a minute long and completely worth it):

Oh my gosh you guys, she's a TEACHER (just like me), who feels stuck in an endless cycle of middle-aged drudgery (just like me) and decides, on a completely spontaneous whim, to quit her job and follow her dreams (just like me--okay, no--but just like I fantasize doing every other day). And it gets even crazier. As the season progresses, Molly decides to become a writer. A WRITER! She quits teaching to write. This woman, however fictional she may be, is my hero.

For the record, I do love my job. My school (aptly dubbed "the Ranch") is about as awesome as they come. I never wake up feeling like "Ugh, I have to go to work today." My school site is my second home, and I love stepping onto its friendly campus every morning. I love the quirkiness of my students. I love it that I get to be one of the people in their lives helping to guide them through the crazy and uncertain transition from childhood to adulthood.

But there's a certain dynamic to teaching that makes you feel like you're stuck in a rut. I've tried [unsuccessfully] so many times to explain in past blog posts this feeling...the feeling that I'm trapped in a really jacked up time loop (seriously, I've said it here, here, and even here...). Even the conflict within my MS is a time loop...gee, I wonder how my subconscious managed to dredge that one up. The thing is, every year I go through the same events and put up with the same dramas, and it feels so special and new to my students, but to me, it's the "same ole' same ole'." At the end of the year, they get to move on to bigger and brighter things, while I'm left to clean up my room and start all over again. Rinse and repeat. The faces change, the names change, but it's all the same. Year after year. When Molly states, "You guys only have fourth grade once, I have all of this for thirty more years," I don't think I've ever related more to a line on television.

Even better is when Molly asks the kids (who couldn't be more apathetic), "Do you ever just kinda stand back and look at your life and think 'This is not where I ought to be'?" Yes, Molly, yes! I have! I love my job, but I can feel it down to my core that I'm not in the right place. I wish I could be crazy like she is. I wish I had the guts to give up my stable, secure, pleasant job and trade it for something much more scary--something with no guarantees. No safety net. Writing. JUST writing.

But I can't. Or, I won't. I live here, in non-fiction land with bills to pay and expectations to meet, and where the fear of failure is too real. So for now I'll just continue to live vicariously through larger-than-life characters like Molly and fantasize about jumping out that window and never looking back.