Thinking out loud…
Called back to teaching, in a pinch, for a good friend, I learned a few things about myself.
I have thoroughly enjoyed teaching. After I retired, and then after my new hip, I wondered about stepping into the classroom again, maybe just once in a while. Thinking about going back to teaching is one thing, actually doing it is quite another. Reality check. But I am oh so glad I got a chance to try it out once again, and know for sure that the decision I made two years ago was the right one.
It is a matter of energy and stamina. It is also a matter of accepting my own limitations, as well as my own changing focus. I heard myself saying to students, “trust yourself, trust your ideas, trust your instincts.” Those words turned around and spoke to me. “Don’t be afraid to play out your ideas, don’t be afraid to screw it up”. I realized I have been afraid to listen to myself, really listen.
I have been trying to force myself to keep to the path I started many years ago—to be a quilt maker, to use the quilt as my artistic expression, my voice, when in my heart I knew that I had said “it” (whatever “it” was) with my last two quilts—
I have had my “say”. I satisfied something elusive in those last two quilts. The passion to speak in that form is no longer tugging at me. I can’t be finished! I thought. I still have good ideas! But what I don’t have is the passion to sit down and do it.
I have been sad and puzzled about that, conflicted and troubled on one hand, and on the other hand, enjoying the heck out of my (mostly) unscheduled life. I’ve been writing, and taking lots and lots of pictures. I have been exploring my interests without trying to make them practical. I have been savoring life—unfettered, spontaneously, quietly, consciously, and as responsibly as I can. That I do have passion for. I have time for that. I am taking my time.
So I will “cut myself some slack”, trust my instincts, and see where this leads me—playing it out, trusting that it is the right path, mistakes, missteps and all, right now.
As I fly home across this country I am listening….really listening.
And to all the students I have ever had, I send my heartfelt thanks.