Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

A Break

Fifteen days ago, I decided I would take a break from my career, give myself the space to figure out where I want to be headed next.

After eleven years of working corporate jobs, I started working as a teacher. I did it for three years.

I had always yearned for deeper meaning, for real impact on this Earth. And in teaching I found it. I have taught over one hundred people, who now can use English to expand their energy and their own impact. I have taught children — and I know it’s all exponential. There is so much depth in teaching, even when it’s not obvious.

The school year ended in June. I tried to imagine myself as a “teacherpreneur”, going rogue and doing my own thing, getting students on my own and growing a community around that. The more I visualised myself in this role, the less I wanted it.

No wonder I didn’t get students— the energy I was unconsciously putting out there was not inviting. Because deep down, * deep breath*…. I am over teaching English at this point. It has fulfilled its purpose in my life and it’s a cycle I am ready to close.

I reluctantly applied for some L&D jobs and got ghosted ( HR people, please stop ghosting candidates!). Same story — although consciously I was looking for a job, deep down I was hoping I wouldn’t get it. It wasn’t something I was aware of. I can ( or could, I guess) convince myself of things and believe my own lies. Things like I can be happy in a corporate job, I’ll still have time for things that nurture my soul. I can make it work.

However, everything is not for everybody — CRMs, ERPs, KPIs, FPRs etc are not for me. Rejection is God’s protection, I thought, but that didn’t make it hurt less.

So I sat and I pondered. What should I do? Try to be a freelance teacher? Teach at a school? Apply for more jobs? Go back to corporate training?

Not having a clear picture of how I will make a living next is excruciating, because I like certainty. I like stability. I want to be able to rely on things. Job security has been a big thing in my life. Since I was nineteen I have always had a job or actively looked for one (I have never been between jobs for more than a month, during which I would apply to everything and go to as many interviews as possible).

Deciding to take a break wasn’t easy. I imagined all the stuff people would say about me — my own inner critic shouting in the back of my head Are you crazy? You’re gonna starve to death. Lazy. You know, as your mind does when you go to unchartered territory. It maps out all the potential pitfalls, worst case scenarios. Another big thing was… what will everyone think about me? Will they think I’ve become a workless worthless bum? How will my relatives judge me?

Then, I asked myself… if I didn’t feel like I had to justify it to everyone I know, what would I do? If it were just me, what would I choose? Big tears rolling down my cheeks I told myself — I need a break. I want a break. I have been working for so long! I really, really want it. I am burnt out. I want to learn things that interest me, do arts and crafts, rest, laugh, have fun. Not worry about having a job for a while.

One morning, I saw a toddler whose dad wouldn’t let him go in the direction he wanted. The little guy got so frustrated going But why??, crying and pointing ahead. That’s exactly how I felt. I want a break! I want to head that way! And my inner voice saying NO! It was a tough decision to make, and it’s turning out even harder to keep my promise to myself. There’s moments and days when I experience a sense of urgency and anxiety and I have to deal with a very harsh inner critic. My body becomes lethargic — my freeze response to threat kicks in. I need a hug but also I want to hide under a rock and never come out. Who will want to see me like this, anyway? And so, I spiral into an energy and create a space that is very uncomfortable.

In these moments, it becomes difficult to justify my own decision to myself.

I’ve recently come across this quote by Brené Brown: “It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol”.

Nowadays busyness is so idolised ,and I can see why — it provides meaning where otherwise there would be void. Fourteen hour work days used to leave me exhausted and elated at the same time. I would get up early and hit the gym, work til 10 pm, go home, sleep and repeat. I would sometimes go to the office on bank holidays so I can work in silence. I am … a trainer. I am…. a teacher. And I said it proudly. Nobody saw me wake up at 5 am and cry, then get myself together and go to work. Come the review, nobody cared I had come to work on labour day.

There were jobs where I worked really hard and jobs where I slacked off. Or, I would invest a lot, feel unappreciated, and then get disappointed and sabotage myself because I didn’t really want to be there. But it was the only way I knew. It was living on autopilot, as they say.

I want to override this autopilot now. Train my brain to feel safe outside the framework of conventional productivity, and create the space for a new reality for myself. I want to create something that is impactful and that will force me to grow and inspire others. My go-to is writing.

People in my life come to me looking for counsel. In the last week, more than once, I was told the same thing — you have a way with words and a way of explaining things in an accessible way; you can take a complex subject, deconstruct it and feed it back to people. I take it as validation of my teaching skills and it lights up the preacher blood in my veins. There’s something here that I can work with.

Everything we know, all the programming and conditioning that we operate by, the ways of the world as we know it — (sort of) provide a structure where we can feel safe and secure — as long as we abide by its rules. Stepping off the beaten path can be terrifying.

So, today, fifteen days into my sabbatical, I woke up feeling terrified about the future. Cue Mama Said

And… I am also hopeful. I am learning that fear and hope can coexist, as can uncertainty and faith. They are not mutually exclusive. This is the type of things that I wanted from my break. Going within and learning more about myself, in preparation for the next phase of my life. What will that be? I’m not sure — and that is as awful as it is awesome.

Wish me luck.

--

--

--

Spiritual Truth Seeker on a never-ending learning quest. Believes everything is a learning experience if you are open to receive the lessons

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Why is change important?

6 Ways You Can Build Self-Confidence Starting Today

Girl, Stop Apologizing: Excuse 4

Backyard Song

Know Thyself!

What does GenZ think about post-pandemic life?

“Workin nine to five, what a way to make a livin”

Image made by me “Casper”

Simplicity will free your mind from the stress of daily life

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Silvia Popa

Silvia Popa

Spiritual Truth Seeker on a never-ending learning quest. Believes everything is a learning experience if you are open to receive the lessons

More from Medium

The words of a teenager

Through the looking glass: all the wasted years

How to cope with the lowest points of depression?

Warning: Your First Thought of the Day is trying to Ruin You