Week Fifty-One

This week I have mostly been focused on decisions and on assessments. The assessments are part of the hoops that the exam board make you jump through before allowing you to mark the coursework component of their course. It’s fairly standard procedure but just a lot of extra work on top of the usual teaching stuff. Nothing I can’t handle, it just means that every extra moment has been taking up with it. Not fun but hardly out of the ordinary as far as the teaching timetable goes.

The decision stuff is slightly harder to deal with. It’s around this time of year that we teachers have to make our decision about staying here for the next academic year. I am so torn, I just don’t know what to do.

There are obviously pros and cons to staying and going and I am trying to make a decision logically. I tell ya, it sucks.

I love it here in Mexico I really do. I love the weather and the culture and the amazing bunch of people I’ve been lucky enough to meet. I loooooove teaching at my school. The kids are great and the staff are wonderful. The whole school has a relaxed atmosphere that I am enjoying being part of.

But of course the downsides are huge. Mexico is very far away from my family and friends who I miss on a daily basis. And also the pay in my job isn’t great which means I am limited in the things I can do. Plus I need to start thinking of the future (the dreaded R word) and making some sort of provisions for that.

Of course me being me I’m not just thinking, I’m over thinking. I’m now questioning all my life choices and decisions: Why didn’t I go to RADA when I was 17? Why didn’t I study creative writing at PhD level so I could be teaching in a university right now? Why couldn’t I have Judith Chalmers job on Wish You Were Here? ‘Cos that’s the type of job I always wanted – being able to run round the globe and tell people what I thought of stuff. Why can’t I make that happen??

I know whatever I decide in the end will be fine. Things will work out exactly the way they are meant to. The universe will shift me into the place I’m meant to be in, even if I don’t know it at the time. Even if it feels scary and weird at the start, it’ll be fine in the end. I just have to do what I normally do and trust my gut. Although right now, my gut is saying nada. It wants a drink of rum. Stupid gut.

A change is as good as…..

 

“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

 

This is how I want to live. It’s a simple enough thing to ask of myself isn’t it? I have always wanted a life of adventure, of new and different, of WOW moments. I’ve had a few, don’t get me wrong but I would like more. I want to squeeze every last drop from every day and fall into bed and think, “If today was the last one, well then it was pretty damn good.” I want excellence and adventure in all walks of life. I know the bills need paid and the dishes and laundry need done but I want to do them in the midst of the adventure and not have them be the low point (or worse the highlight) of a day. I want to see new places, cultures, meet new people, smell new smells, eat new things…or just the same things on different plates. I want to go to work in the morning and make a real honest to goodness difference to someone’s life. I have so many expectations of how I want things to be that I’m not sure I can list them all here.

 

In the last while I have been thinking about change. I’ve been searching out possibilities; I’ve been looking at all the options. I’ve been taking stock of where I am and what has been going on. I’m now in the very lucky position of being able to plot and plan where I want to go next. For the last four years I have been studying part time whilst working. I’ve finished now and thankfully have graduated with my Masters in Education. I’ve also stopped working with Scream Blue Murmur (the performance group I collaborated with for six years). I am now in the position that should I choose to, I can go anywhere or do anything. And so this is where the quandary is – if you can choose to do or go anywhere….where do you go and what do you do? The only thing I am certain of right now is that there must be a change. It is inevitable.

 

I think change is healthy. No, in fact, I think it is vital. For me it speaks of security rather than insecurity like some have suggested. I know how important my family and friends are to me and I also know that I will not lose that no matter where in the world I am or what job I am doing.

 

Change is also important when it comes to creativity. You need to constantly sharpen and refresh your creative store. You can’t keep writing the same poem over and over, you can’t keep creating the same characters in your novel or play, and you can’t keep using the same chord pattern in each song. Well you could, but it would be boring, rigid and unreadable/unlistenable after a time. The creative spirit needs to be amused and entertained. It needs to be handled with kid gloves, like a small child with the attention span of a goldfish, on a sugar high. At least in my opinion it does anyway.

I think change is good for my creativity. Change, coupled with fear and stepping into the utter unknown is also working wonders for me. This blog is an example of that. I’ve had it for years but never really used it properly. I’ve made a conscious effort over the last while to document and record moments and feelings as and when they happen. It may not be good writing but at least I am writing. For so long my writing and reading was limited to work related study. Everything was dry and academic therefore my creative brain had gone to sleep. Now I am slowly but surely reminding it that it is time to come out and play. This blog helps. It’s the steady hand as you’re learning to ice skate. It’s the safety barriers down the side of the bowling lane.

You should see what it’s done to my poetry….and of course when the time is right, you will!