The shirt off my back

I think we are measured (and we measure ourselves) on all different scales. When I was single (and I know many of my single friends feel this way), I measured myself against the social standard that not having a boyfriend somehow signified a failure. When I was younger, I compared my grades. Now, I compare my vacations, salaries, apartments. I even compare my food consumption and exercise levels against other people. Sometimes, I get the feeling that many of us live like there is some large scale in the sky and we need to measure up to some preset standard.

Well, I threw away my actual scale, and I am not afraid to throw away another.

I spent two years in Germany after I graduated from college. I had a blast getting to know new people, a new language, a new culture. While I never realized how awesome it was while I was there, since returning home from Germany, I have felt that something was missing. I can’t put my finger on exactly what. Was my life too ordinary? Was I scared that I had somehow begun a slow trudge through my adult years? Was I simply unhappy?

I have had a great experience teaching high school English for the past three years, but lately I have noticed my enthusiasm waning. I no longer wanted to volunteer for extra responsibilities or attend every activity and event. I begrudged the amount of time I spent grading and running aroud and often compared myself to coworkers who seemed to do very little. At times, even the environment felt stifling, like people were resigned to making the best of an unsatisfactory situation rather than working toward change. Most disturbingly, I found myself doing just enough. As someone who has consistently worked well beyond expectations, the idea of doing just enough to get by was disturbing. I didn’t like leaping out of my seat the second the clock hit “closing time.” I didn’t the lack of passion and drive I was bringing to my lessons. I didn’t want to be average.

It was time for a change.

Soul Card Clue

Though I had been considering a change for a month, being in Idaho really have me time to ponder my decision. Making soul cards provided me an important clue–do you see the cartoon woman forcing open the restrictive columns? Could that be me?

I quit my job on Thursday. I don’t have another job yet, but I do have plans to spend next year in Korea teaching English. It’s a big leap, but in a lot of ways it’s a safe leap. My cousin/best friend has lived in Korea for the past four years, and she loves it. My boyfriend is supportive and encouraging; he understands my need to experience different cultures and travel. I have not felt an iota of regret. I am sure that at moments next year I will miss America and my current life, but I am ready for the challenge!

I have also recommitted myself to quasi-healthy eating. My brand of healthy eating. I was going to joing John on Velocity, but I didn’t like it hanging over my head. I kept pushing the start date back rather than going for it, which suggested to me that I need to keep finding my own way and discovering my own path. I don’t need to do a jump-start crazy program if even contemplating that program makes me crazy. So, slowly but surely I am going to continue refining my own healthy habits.

I started with a run this morning! A shirtless run! I never run shirtless because I have never had the body for it, but I finally felt comfortable. My body won’t make anyone go “WHOA!” in an impressed gasp or repulsed sneer. I am pretty much an “okay…. good for her” which is fine with me! I felt good and strong and back on my way!

Pretty in pink!

Feeling good!

I met some former students and a colleague for brunch/lunch. I had a veggie burger (1/2 the bun, all the burger) and some fries. I didn’t get a picture. And now I’m just hanging in Panera after a debatably healthy snack that my body was craaaaving. I’m thinking I’ll treat myself to a movie today and then relax tonight… a perfect way to ease back into healthy habits!

Oh dear Panera, I will miss you!


About Heather

I'm a literature-loving adventurer.
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3 Responses to The shirt off my back

  1. You are amazing. You and your shirtless runs and your willingness to charge at life with the openness and eagerness it deserves. Calling you an inspiration wouldn’t even begin to cover it…

  2. Pam says:

    You’re an amazing young lady. Very insightful on all the scales in our lives…sad but true.

  3. Maryanna says:

    wow. you have some guts to do that! (quit your job and move to korea…although, that also applies for the shirtless run). I’d be terrified. I hope this helps you find your passion about working again 🙂

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