The epiphany seemed to come to me quickly, but the depression, anxiety and emptiness that built up for years seemed to continually drone. I had tried to figure out why I could no longer find pleasure for quite some time. First I thought if I went back to school, spending onwards of $25,000 maybe I could switch careers. Possibly a more fulfilling career with a higher income would work (to pay of the horrible student loans that would follow). I then realized I had no idea what I wanted to go into so I just settled on something, special education, where there would be job openings. I concluded I may get tired of teaching health and would need a backup. Once you are a teacher it is hard to leave the profession, with the time off and good benefits even if you are unhappy almost each day you enter through the doors of the school building. I even read, “What Color is Your Parachute”, to find out that I am an introvert who prefers to work alone for the most part. So that weeds out many professions with which I have experience. When searching for a masters program, I came across speech language pathology and thought hey this is it! Then I realized that to get a Master’s you need to take post baccalaureate classes, than pay to pass the GRE. Plus, you cannot work when classes are only offered during the day! It made no sense to quit working, plus I couldn’t afford it with a mortgage. I spent the summer moping and depressed. I laid around many of the days not finding the energy to do things I enjoy. At this point my view on work and money was affecting me mentally, physically and socially. I had put on 15 pounds since getting my new position as a split day health teacher at a middle school and high school. I would come home from work mentally exhausted. I would spend money just to fill whatever emptiness I was feeling. Instead of cooking a nourishing meal that would be allergy free I opted to buy packaged foods or eat out. I was slowly loosing myself as my debt increased. At this point I realized I was not enjoying life, just going through the motions.
I knew I needed to make a change now, no waiting around any more. Starting with small tasks I could track and control seemed reasonable. No credit cards would be used and a budget would be kept on finances. This helped me to see where my money was leaking. The credit card debt is huge because I owe money to corporations who are now charging me finance fees. It felt difficult at first and overwhelming, but I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have connected my consumption of material objects to my decreased happiness. The more I work, the more money I make, the more I buy and the less I experience real life. If I can get my debts paid off I will not need as much money to buy material objects. You can’t take them to the grave.
Next, I needed to let go of the idea that work was going to get better. I decided that I would do what I could and if something didn’t get done, it’s not the end of the world. If a student is going to be impossible and not do what they are supposed to, too bad. I can’t save everyone and I refuse to be a martyr. I didn’t go to 5 years of college to martyr myself daily at work.
I have some goals in life. First, to pay off my debt. Next, I really want to get married and start having kids in about 2 years. Ideally I would like to work part time and raise my kids. I want to become more self-sufficient and lead a happier life doing what I enjoy. I know this can be done!