I grew up in south San Diego along the coastline – I mean, I could literally see Mexico from my house – and other than our mostly perfect weather, we also had a common occurrence in the mornings: the marine layer. From the ground, the marine layer looks similar to fog or a cloud cover, but it’s not actually the same thing. It causes the sky to look dull and gray before it burns off with the arrival of warmer temperatures in the afternoon. In San Diego, it is fairly common to have a marine layer through the morning into the early afternoon. And I hated it because it hurt my eyes and gave me a headache.
THE YEAR THAT WAS 2017
2017 was like one super long, hazy, marine-layered morning in San Diego, where the sun and warmer temperatures never came. I couldn’t look up. It hurt my eyes. And I had a headache for most of it – metaphorically, anyway. I kept waiting for it to burn off so I could feel the warmth and happiness of the sun, but it never came. It was one, long 365-day marine layer.
I’m so glad it’s over. There were some good moments in 2017, some happy family memories made, but mostly, the year just sucked. I tried to avoid the headlines, but news of Trump’s behavior or his Tweets or his bad decisions were everywhere I looked. It was a hard year to get through.
It was a hard year to feel hopeful.
After January 20, 2017, there was that one glorious day where women (and some men) came together all over the world to stand up for equality and justice and be heard. The Women’s March was great! But after that, I pretty much felt deflated the rest of the year, and I’m not proud of that. It was just so hard to slog through it all, and I found my energy as an activist just wane away as the year went on.
I was depressed for most of 2017. There were so many times during the year I was frustrated or angry or wound up about an issue, and when I sat down at my computer to blog about it I felt absolutely overwhelmed by it all and couldn’t get any words out. I’ve got a dozen unfinished blog posts from last year that I just couldn’t get done. Blogging is challenging for me anyhow, but man! 2017 was just the pits.
A NEW YEAR, A NEW HOPE?
And yet, here we are, finally, in a new year. It’s 2018, at last.
That marine layer is starting to burn off. We made it.
Every time a new year begins, I usually feel hopeful. This year, there is only a teeny-tiny feeling, but it is there. Maybe a positive change is coming. That hope may have started when Doug Jones was elected as Alabama’s new senator, and I hope it keeps growing. Though, unfortunately, things may get worse before they get better.
Fingers crossed, 2018, fingers crossed.
LESSONS LEARNED & A NEW COURSE
Professionally, 2017 was a bit of a downer for me. I quit my job as a teacher in May 2016, and I really thought I was done with it all.
After graduating from massage therapy school in May 2017, I became a licensed massage therapist and slowly began working in that field.
Along the way, I learned a few things about myself:
- I feel good about my decision to quit teaching in 2016. I was reaching my burnout point, and my frustrations about testing were at an all-time high. It was definitely time for me to get out before I started letting it show in the classroom.
- I’m also really happy about my decision to become a massage therapist. Though it may have seemed like a decision completely out of left field – and in some ways, it totally was – it makes sense to me now. See, I like to help people, but I wanted a much less stressful job than teaching. And that’s basically massage: it’s a very non-stressful job for the most part, and it definitely helps people. And plus, I really enjoy it! Who knew? So now, I have a whole other skill set I can use! Pretty cool decision overall.
- But… guess what I figured out the longer I was away from teaching? I miss working in public education. I didn’t think I would. But I can’t deny the pull it has on me, the desire to make a positive change. I feel led to work in public education in some way, to be a leader, to effect change, and I realize that now.
- And lastly, after over a year where my husband and I have had to pay for our own health insurance out of pocket, we decided we need to make some changes. The state of our health insurance system is obviously broken, and I am tired of paying a fortune each month ($1032.66 to be exact)(plus $88.30 for dental!) for really, really crappy insurance. In short, I realized I need to have a full-time job with benefits because what we’re doing right now ain’t cutting it. (Also, I can’t really earn a decent wage and have benefits as a massage therapist. Bummer.)
So, for the last few months, I’ve been actively looking for a full-time job in education. I’m still working as a massage therapist – I’m definitely going to keep that up! It’s just that now, I only plan to work on some weekends and maybe more in the summer. It’s just not going to be my main job or source of income.
I’m eager to get back to what’s been calling me…
After taking this time to truly relax and recharge, I’m not burned out anymore. In this sense, with my career path, that marine layer I was talking about has completely burned off, and things are clear as day now.
In fact, I feel excited. I feel ready. I don’t know yet where I’ll end up… but I’m hopeful.
Something I haven’t felt in a long time.
Wish me luck.