“you are afraid of surrender because you don’t want to lose control. but you never had control; all you had was anxiety.”
— elizabeth gilbert
I pride myself to be a planner, and a good one at that. As a teacher, planning is in my job description. As a naturally anxious person, planning eases some of my worries knowing that I’m prepared for some anticipated situations. Even as a creator, I plan my content because I take pride in having an aesthetically pleasing feed. Even though I’ve learned time and time again that things don’t always go as planned (especially with students), and that some of the most beautiful and magical moments I’ve experienced came from things going awry, I still hold on to the illusion of having control. And so this pandemic has definitely thrown me for a loop.
This year was supposed to bring the end of the teaching chapter of my life. After seven years, I am exhausted, jaded, and burnt out, to be honest. Brandon is going to graduate from graduate school this Fall, bringing another end of a three year chapter of our story. He is supposed to start an internship next month, but who knows what the state of things will be like then. Last week I was supposed to be in Chicago at a conference to network and get inspiration for my future. I was supposed to then work on my graduate school applications this week during my Spring Break. I was then supposed to go back to school for a second Masters degree in the Fall and begin a new chapter in my story as an educator.
On my hardest work days, I held onto that hope—the hope that this pain is temporary; that I was finally getting out; that soon I wouldn’t have to navigate upset parents, school politics, or students’ big feelings anymore; that I’d finally be doing something for me, rather than for my relationship or for my students and their families. But these days, I feel that hope slipping away and I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m disappointed for sure, but I’m also incredibly grateful for the stability of this job (at least for now) that I couldn’t wait to quit in a few months. My coping mechanism to plan has also been taken from me. Our meals for the week is as far as my prided skills as a planner can be used now, but even then, I’m still at the mercy of the grocery gods.
During this time, I keep going back to my new year’s intentions of surrender and trust. At times, I just want to laugh and tell the Universe that I get the hint to just let go now. Other times, I just want to cry at how overwhelming all of this is. This week though, I’m trying my best to just surrender–to be present in the moment, to try not to worry about the future, to find gratitude in the small things and maybe even in the big things too.
As I look to the future, there’s a twinkle of freedom and relief in knowing that I don’t need to figure it out right now; that things will unfold as they’re supposed to; and that all I have to really focus on is here and right now.