“It’s never too late to have a life and never too late to change one.”
I keep hearing this in my head.
Today, when I walk into my classroom, I will not only be teaching my last class of the year, but perhaps my last class as a legal writing professor. Maybe. Perhaps. For now.
Here’s the short-ish version of how it went down. I was told that I had three choices: (1) keep doing what I’m doing, teaching what I’m teaching – which I knew I needed a break from doing; (2) take a one-year leave of absence, unpaid, with no guarantee of returning to my previous position; or (3) take a one-semester leave of absence, unpaid, and develop and teach another course for a fraction of my current salary.
I took Door #2.
Why? No guarantee of returning to my job? No salary? Crazy girl. Cray-cray.
For these reasons: First, I need a break. In the last five years of teaching, I have torn a ligament in my ankle and been in a boot/cast for 12 weeks; I have had emergency surgery in the middle of a semester; I have broken my leg, on crutches for nearly 10 weeks; I have poured my heart into my work and I have worked my arse off. I have been teaching the same thing for twelve years and, well, it was just time for a break.
Second, even though I am not being paid, I remain an active employee of the university, which means I keep my benefits. This helps my family tremendously while I take the aforementioned break.
Third, along with needing a break from teaching what I teach, I am just not sure that I want to continue teaching anything in the law – so developing and teaching a new course, while sort of appealing, didn’t achieve the goal of a break. And I need a break. (I might have mentioned that.)
So, after much thought, prayer, spreadsheet-making, discussions, margaritas, and ice cream, I have made this decision: I am taking a one-year leave of absence from teaching.
What am I going to do during this year? I am going to write – and hopefully grow – this blog. I’m going to do projects and write about them. I’m going to play with my kids and help them with their homework. I’m going to have weekends without worrying about grading papers or prepping for class. I’m going to finally, really, truly BREATHE.
The night we made the decision – and I say WE because Dear Husband is a rock star who is graciously and selflessly helping me to do this – was the best I had slept in probably 20 years. I’m serious. I could breathe. The elephant on my chest had left the building. I could breathe.
Can I just tell you how amazing breathing is? Cuz it is.
I feel lighter.
I feel like me again.
It’s never too late to have a life and never too late to change one.
Time to get started. Thank you for listening (Hello? Are you still there?) and thank you for standing by me, supporting me, and reading this little blog.
Time to get started – I hope you stick with me for the ride. It’s gonna be fun.