It is amazing how quickly time passes us by. Remember when we were children when the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas vacation seemed to move like a snail? And the time until the end of the school year always seems light-years away. Now it seems as if I blink my eyes and days have passed.
I've already been in my new home now for over a month and it certainly does feel like home. I've had some friends over for visits which has been a wonderful experience... having space to entertain and being able to have them come through my front door rather than through my parent's garage.
There is a peaceful quiet here - no one to start talking to me as soon as I walk through the door. My thoughts are my own and things are done on my own time. When I want company the telephone is always close at hand.
I can't help but still feel trapped though.. not in my parent's home (as wonderful and they were and continue to be I yearned for a place to call my own) but in the rut of a job. While I do enjoy the work I do, there is always so much to be done - so few resources at my disposal - and very little pay. Never would I have dreamed that at this stage in my life I'd be a low level cog in a retail machine - living pay check to pay check.
Don't get me wrong, I am grateful for being able to have had the means to move out into the world on my own, but there is no such thing as really saving for the future. There is no room for significant growth. I lay in bed after the alarm goes off remembering all the many things that await me on the desk when I get to work, and leave knowing how much more will be awaiting my return the next day. And for what? To eek out an existence?
There are times it infuriates me to know I worked so hard in school and spent so much money (and more to spend since the loans are not fully paid) to be doing what any person off the street could be trained to do... making far less than I ever imagined I'd be making after all that hard work and effort.
I feel like I threw my time and money away on a teaching degree - all I have left after years of sacrifice is a piece of paper known as a diploma. Don't even ask me where it currently resides.. I have no idea. All I know is it is a certificate that yields nothing.
A friend of mine was over for dinner this weekend and she is in the same boat. She too has her teaching degree and has no leads on any substantial possibility for a job. She spent this year as a substitute teacher and summarized the experience perfectly: "demeaning". Here she is, late 30s, a degree.. has raised a child of her own - was a dance teacher for years and the best she can do with her degree is play babysitter in a classroom setting.
She (like myself and so many other substitutes) know how it feels when some of the faculty and staff look down their noses at you or talk down to you as if you were no more knowledgeable than the students you are there to teach. Not to mention how it feels to be in front of a classroom of strangers each day, many of whom have made it their personal quest to get you to break down into tears by the end of the period. All for $80 a day.
There seems to be no end to district downsizing in sight and no better options for those of us on the outside dreaming of being on the inside. And with each passing day that dream fades into a cloud of bitterness and contempt for the whole field itself.
While I am so thankful (Deo Gratias!) for the new home in my life and making that New Year's resolution come true.. the idea of being stuck in this rudimentary position any longer makes me want to cry. As my 30th birthday approaches in less than a month - I have to wonder what lies ahead for me -- especially since my 20s were not filled with prosperous change, but stagnant repetition.