Last night I had a teaching dream, usually a sign of anxiety. Not this time. This time it was on a night of presentations that my dream students were giving at the end of a project, and I was running around, reassuring, trouble-shooting, and finger-wagging at the troublemakers. By the end of the dream, my dream self was in tears with pride for the job the kids had done.
Which brings me to today’s blog topic: passion vs. paying the bills.
Teaching is probably my calling. I am passionate about it, especially about middle school kids, especially about twice-exceptional middle school kids, and I am passionate about education. I can remember saying when I was younger that I wanted to start my own school, and I remember very clearly the day I decided to become a teacher. The dream was not off; I had many days in my teaching career where I was filled to bursting with pride and love for my students.
Now, I write. I don’t write anything particularly profound, but I enjoy what I do, and it pays the bills. More importantly at this moment, it gives me freedom that I need to figure out what’s next. We can take two days off and go to
to meet Cal
Ripken, Jr. and watch the Orioles in spring training (happy birthday to me and much love to my brother for making that happen!!) . We can go to Sarasota so New
can speak at the TEDYouth conference. We can take six weeks off and go up and
down the east coast and listen to Barack Obama give a speech commemorating the 50-year anniversary of the march on Washington. I can do yoga every morning, and we can reward ourselves
on Tuesdays and Fridays with gluten-free cupcakes. In the middle of the day. Sicily
But teaching. No flexibility. Someone else is the boss (which is really not going to work for me so much after owning and running my own school). There is no spontaneity. Yes, summers are free, but they are free for everyone else, too (which makes everything more expensive and crowded and unpleasant).
I could see writing becoming something major after a while, but right now I am a hired gun. I get to say yes or no to assignments, but they are still not necessarily my own (lots of ghostwriting in freelance work). This blog counts, I suppose, but there is no money in it (and that does need to happen to some degree, although we live frugally and our needs are few). It has only been a few months of writing “professionally,” so there’s that.
Which do you choose in your own life: passion vs. paying the bills? And if you chose passion and it pays the bills, how did you get there?