I had my career goal set in stone at age fifteen: I wanted to be an elementary school teacher and own my own school one day. I had ideas about education because of my own experiences in school, and I wanted to test them out in a classroom. I pursued this goal relentlessly for 6 years, and I worked in my dream job as a teacher at a unique and wonderful school for 5 years... until I faced a hard truth: I was unfulfilled.
For some time after this realization, I dealt with powerful feelings of denial and guilt. I was ungrateful, greedy, and petulant, I told myself. I had gotten what I wanted and still wasn't happy. I should be happy; I could be happy. I just needed to snap out of it, to force myself to be happy, to hang in there. Things would get easier after I had years and years of experience, and then I'd be happy... But deep down I knew: my life, my energy, my passion, were too important to let die- and I felt them dying. No matter how much I mulled over the possibilties, I just couldn't envision achieving the future I wanted for myself if I continued down the path I was on. I had to do something and fast.
In his famous commencement speech at Kenyon College (popularly known as "This is Water") David Foster Wallace said:
And while there are points of insight to be taken from his speech, this part never sat well with me. I refused to just accept that adult life would be marked in large part by "boredom, routine, and petty frustration." I stared down decades of a predictable groundhog's-day-like existence, and I refused to accept it as an unspoken and unfortunate reality of adulthood. I rejected a mediocre life. I rejected monotony. I rejected resignation. I took a chance on myself. I'm breaking the mold because I gave up a steady and reliable job that I liked in many ways. I decided to risk my security and comfort to pursue something I simply had to do: a complete career shift- and Praxis.
Every day since I committed to Praxis I've been more and more convinced that I made the right decision. I made a leap toward something somewhat nebulous compared to my ultra-specific fifteen-year-old's dream, but this new venture is full of promise and opportunity, and though I am slightly terrified at the uncertainty, I am invigorated by it even more. I am happy, I am hopeful, I am alive. I don't know every turn in the road ahead of me, but I know that it will be full of adventure, and I know I will succeed.