What have I been up to?
I decided to move away from classroom teaching at the end of this year! After many years in the classroom, teaching mostly science and math, but at points all subjects and all grade levels - at private and public (traditional and alternative) schools, I have decided that this introvert needs to stop living like an extrovert. I have done enough.
What will I do next? I don't know for sure. I am exploring the possibility of being a Special Education or English Language Learner para-educator, a classified librarian and a tutor. My goal is a support role instead the management role of a teacher. I am not retiring, per se, just off to do something different.
I will have some side hustles of dyeing wool and selling my crocheted work. Because of intercostal neuralgia, (which took 30 years to diagnose) I am limited in what I can physically do...using my arms in repeated motion for more than 10 minutes inflames nerves in my back and incites horrific pain to the point of not being to twist, bend, cough, sneeze or even laugh. No, it is not fun, and I first developed this after a back injury in college. It flared up when I began stuffing bags at McDonald's when I was 25, a job that only lasted 2 months because of the pain. I have given up many activities I love because of it: cake decorating, sewing, gardening, cooking...the list goes on. Wool dyeing could never be a full time endeavor. Crochet time must be rationed and interrupted with other activities, but it is manageable in a slow, spaced bursts. It is what it is.
I have reduced my living expenses and will age in place in my tiny home. I continue to unpack and unfetter myself from excess STUFF. Three hundred eighty six square feet doesn't afford much storage space. But, there is no hurry. The boxes will be there until they aren't. I have pathways, it's OK.
I love the alienness of the desert. It is enchanting, in an otherworldly way. Not Upstate New York beautiful, but it has it's moments. Of course I compare the visual quality of everything I see to my easy-on-the-eyes Allegheny Plateau. Nothing really compares the the rolling, forested hills of home. I desperately miss New York, but to remain independent I need the lower cost of living this lovely Sonoran Desert offers. And of course, the sauna like temperatures of summer and days of endless sunshine are an added bonus.
And so, I march on to the unknown. Decisions, decisions! Thank you for your support during this time of transition. I'll keep you posted.
Penny Lee Soutar, © copyright 21 March, 2023