Wednesday, June 04, 2008

My Second Bachelor's

We're coming up here on my four year anniversary of living in New York. I'm going to submit to a little cliche here: the girl who moved here with two suitcases and a box seems completely unrecognizable to me today. In the past four years I taught five different grades and six different subjects to over 200 children. I traveled to Maine, Joshua Tree Desert, Colorado, North Carolina, and a few spots within a 2-hour radius of the city. I completed a masters degree. I moved to five different apartments in two boros. I learned how to be a better roommate, unfortunately through making quite a few rookie mistakes with my near and dear friend Keri. I spent way too much time on bad or just mediocre dates. I fell head over heels in love, and have remained in that state for an obnoxiously long time. I got hooked on podcasts, bad tv, and one-story. I ran a half-marathon, which was not nearly as hard as running a 4-mile run in 2-degree weather a few months afterwards. I played beach soccer, indoor soccer, and pickup soccer as much as possible. I got a literary agent, then was dropped just two months later. I dealt with what I hope is the worst personal tragedy in my lifetime, and after a bit of therapy, came out of it in one piece. I did the flying trapeze with my mom. I hosted my 14-year-old cousin for her 2-week stay in the city. I welcomed a baby niece to the world, as well as quite a few new cousins and babies of friends. I broke my nose and my scaphoid, both in ridiculous ways. I made a fool of myself more times than I want to remember right now, but I made quite a few good decisions, though, too. I got a dog that I love and obsess over. I read a countless books and stories. All in all, I've had a lot of fun.

After four years of city life, I feel as if it is time for me to graduate. The biggest difference between this "graduation" and my undergraduate graduation, is that the first time around, five very long years ago, I left my college campus feeling pretty certain about everything: the way the world works, why things happen, what I wanted to do with my life, and how the next five years of my life would pan out. Now, and probably a bit more realistically, I haven't got a clue. I can't figure out why anything really happens anymore and I don't know what I'll be doing this time next year. And as someone who can get pretty obsessed with a plan, the best thing I have thought to do is to make a list of 30 things to do before I'm 30. So now I frequently daydream about my trip to the Moab Desert, or how I'll go crazy trying to submit my first novel to publishers.

Feeding my questions about my future is the fact that June 26th will be my last day working for the New York City Department of Education, something that still somehow shocks me. In many ways I feel that a part of my spirit, and maybe even my heart, has been broken by the mess of a system that is the DOE. And even as I leave, I feel that I am giving up. It's not a great feeling, although I am excited about much of what lies ahead. I have already started my new job as an ABA therapist working in the homes of students with autism. It's early intervention, one-on-one, and so far going extremely well. It's refreshing to be able to give truly individualized care and feel that I am working with a team that is actually producing results. But all of this transition has been much more difficult than I ever would've expected.

One thing I have learned in the past four years is that the dates that are set aside for celebration (graduation , birthdays, etc.) are frequently not as worthy as other days. For example, why don't teachers who have made it through the first year in tact get a huge party? In these four years, I have grappled with questions that are much bigger and more relevant than anything I ever did in college, simply because they have a real context. I'm no longer reading life from a textbook. So, as I said before, it's time to graduate. And just like I left Columbia, Missouri after my undergraduate career, I'm ready to leave something behind and start a new chapter. I won't be leaving New York, I still love it too much. But I will be leaving the blog. Over time, I've posted fewer and fewer entries, frequently causing my Uncle Jim to think I am dead. And I am finding that the time I do have for writing I want to spend on other projects, one of which you can check out here.

So this is it, the final good-bye. Thank you for checking in here on Aisle Life over the last 400 entries. I think it might just be time to throw myself a graduation party.


Jackie said...

Congratulations on your "Second Graduation"!

Thanks for sharing the journey in your posts. I hope your new adventure is everything you're looking for.

Good luck!

J said...

wow, this is wonderful. congratulations on making it this far on your journey, and best of luck on your next adventure!

if you ever want to come hang out with some of us current/former teacher bloggers, email me at :)