Keeping It Real

The thing I love about my life, no matter how much it hurts or how crazy it gets, is that it is REAL. I am happy to say my life is truly a deeply engaged human endeavor, a spiritual journey, even a humbling ride, but not without its moments of euphoria. Let’s be clear: I’m glad I lived large, dined well, and traveled much in my youth. This current phase is no flaky party scene, no glam movie-star life, and vacations have grown fewer and further between (ocean, I miss you). This is the real middle-of-my-life, fueled-by-grit-and-true-fierce-love deal.

            To wit: aging parent, younger children, economic crisis/political mind@#$%, career changes, peri-menopause meets teenage hormones, I-need-new-carpet, all-my-friends-are-getting-divorced EMOTIONAL SQUEEZE. So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged.

            In the last 9 months I’ve had no less than three careers: freelance marketing consultant, full-time creative writer, and part-time teacher. Yes, I’m making that transition from business woman to teacher, so that I can write more and be inspired by my day job to do so. It’s been interesting, starting over at 47 and applying for jobs I could have gone for straight out of grad school, but I truly believe you are never too old to start something wonderful, new, and exciting. (Except piano…I don’t know that I’ll ever have the bandwidth for that one.)

            Recently I started substitute teaching in a local school district. It’s a small district and I can teach kindergarten through high school, but so far I’ve only worked in elementary schools. It’s been an amazing experience. There is nothing better than inspiring kids to try their best. And of course, elementary school is where kids learn how to be part of a group, how to exercise self-control, and how to behave in socially acceptable ways, so there are lots of opportunities to teach them life skills, too. The teachers I work with rise to this noble task with grace and skill that’ll make your jaw drop.

            Some highlights so far:

  • My first day subbing, I am teaching second-graders the difference between there, their, and they’re. I tell them a secret: Many grownups still don’t know the difference, so if they can learn this now, they will be smarter than many adults. A boy in the first row asks me: Do your grandkids know the difference? Humbling moment, to say the least, since I am only 47. But given that many women my age in this particular town are indeed grandmothers, I smile and tell him sweetly, Well, I don’t have grandkids just yet, thanks for asking.
  • One day I came home from work and told my husband that today I got paid to tell people to please be quiet…for about 6 straight hours.
  • Today a young student who has been working hard on his behavior not only followed instructions perfectly, working independently and without disruption, and finished his work early, but then helped a fellow student complete his work. He was my best worker all day and earned a special reward.
  • Every day after teaching, I have driven home and thought, I did something really important today. I can honestly say I have never written a press release, an ad campaign, or even an entire website (aside from this one) and had that same thought. Never.

So to anyone out there who may be thinking it’s time for a change, a do-over, a make-over, a spiritual revolution, or just a change of pace/perspective, listen up: It’s never too late to make a difference, and you will never regret making a change that blesses the world. When you want to make the most of your life, it all comes back to the first rule of writing: revise, revise, revise.

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3 Responses to Keeping It Real

  1. Heidi Lupinacci says:

    Thank goodness for people who come in to teaching after they’ve seen something completely different in earlier careers who now see the “WHY” do teachers do what they do everyday. People like this are education’s biggest supporters and voice to those who they know outside of education.

    And P.S. Sandy: “YOU ROCK!”

  2. Amy McClure says:

    Nice words to start my day and put me in a thoughtful mode. Thanks, Sandy!

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