This weekend I attended a college graduation. It wasn’t my graduation. And it wasn’t my first graduation. As a professor (and serial student myself), I have attended a few graduations. What made this graduation different is that it may have been my last.
I resigned from my professor job to move to the place where my heart is and has always been. The place I call “home” even though I haven’t lived there in 20 years. The place I grew up, learned to ride a bike, had my first crush, my first love, my first heartbreak. My first prom, my first…well, nevermind. You get the gist.
I resigned from my professor job because…well, I’m not really sure why. My husband said, “Why don’t we move home?” And I said ok. We move about every three or four years at the suggestion of one or the other of us, so this wasn’t a shocking idea. But for the first time, we are moving for the quality of our lives and not for our careers. And that makes it very different. But home is the where of our happiness so it must be a good thing… right?
I have mixed feelings about this ending. Although I’m excited to be moving “home,” I’m not sure what this new beginning means for me. Sure, it means living at the beach (yay!). And it means raising my son in the place where I grew up (yay yay!). But what does it mean for ME, you know, professionally? My husband teleworks, so he takes his job with him. But I’ve been working at a brick and mortar university. And now I’m…not.
People keep asking, “So what are you going to be doing?” Some persistently believe I’m retiring at 47 despite my efforts to dissuade them of the notion (it probably doesn’t help that my flippant answer to the question is occasionally “be a kept woman.” It’s a joke!). Answering “I have no idea” seems to make people uncomfortable (including me) and if I’m not mistaken, I’ve gotten a few pitying looks…and a few envious ones. 🙂
My goal is to relax, get quiet, and spend a few months figuring out who I am. I call it a self-imposed sabbatical, in keeping with the professorial mindset. Marlo Thomas (whose awesome webcast I attended last week) would probably say “It Ain’t Over“ and Jane Pauley (whose book Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life I am reading now) might call it a step toward reimagining my life.
Endings are difficult…but exciting, because they mean new beginnings. New beginnings are scary…but exciting because anything is possible.
Carpe new beginnings.