Today was my last day at my full time job. I chose to quit; I wasn't laid off. I decided to leave my position working as an administrative assistant for a large public university for many reasons, but mostly because my schedule was absolutely eating me alive.
Ever since I graduated from college two years ago I have been struggling to adjust to life as a full-time office worker. I have refused to give up the things I love in my life- namely dance, sleeping, and spending time with my husband. Not cutting back on my dance activities has left me with very little free time. I have two formal troupe practices per week, I teach a class on Monday evenings, and I teach practically all day every weekend on Saturdays. As I'm also unwilling to cut back on my rigorous 8-hour-per-night sleep regimen, this leaves me with not a whole lot of time or energy to do things like eat, clean, bathe, cope with life, or other such things like that-- let alone to spend time developing new skills or learning new stuff.
Although I imagine other people may have found my schedule to be perfectly reasonable and nothing to complain about, I spent two years trying my best to make it work to no avail. I know it's not just my personality. I'm not an invalid, and I don't consider myself to be impaired or disabled, but I do have a chronic health condition- Fibromyalgia Syndrome. I cope with my FMS quite well, I think, but it still affects me, and it limits my ability to endure things like working 6 days a week every week and generally not ever having any downtime.
What I'm looking at now is getting my income from two places: tutoring ESL (which I did during college as well, actually), and teaching bellydance classes. I also hope to start living a hardcore frugal lifestyle to make up for lost income. Of course, my husband also has a job.
It's funny. Less than three years ago I thought (and said, often at length) that I would never want to make bellydance my job, and that I would never want to depend on someone else's income to live. Then again, that was before I underwent a spectacularly humbling job search and then actually entered the workforce, first working a really awful temp job for about a month and then finding a job at the university.
While my university job was relatively stable and certainly tolerable, I had no room for advancement (there was virtually no way I could be promoted or get a raise), and no room in my life to work towards greater goals. Even at 24 years of age, I felt the time slipping out of my fingers with each passing month.
Meanwhile, all this time, I've only gotten more and more involved with bellydance- emotionally, intellectually, financially, and physically- and I can't help but feel, especially with teaching, that the more I work at it the better I get at it. Also, I love it. I feel a deep, monogamous sort of love for it. I fully anticipate that I'll be in love with it for the rest of my life.
Interestingly, the more deeply I fall in love with the dance, the less I am worried about ever becoming a well-known dancer. I feel less of the gnawing need for external validation now than ever before. I just want to be good at it. I want to put my best effort into performing, studying, and teaching. I want to see my students grow and flourish. I really hope that now I'll have the time to do all of that to the best of my ability.
I want to try to make a career of it if I can. I'm hoping to finally finish my ACE Group Fitness Instructor certification and then start looking at getting more involved movement arts or fitness training (maybe Pilates? maybe some sort of dance? I haven't decided yet). I want to bring something really vital and holistic to my students and to the community, and I love learning so I'm going to try to train as much as I can afford.
I might always have to have a side job, and that would be fine by me. I also know that this might just completely make my life go to shit. A side job might not be enough. I might still completely run myself into the ground financially and become destitute. If that happens, I suppose I'll have to choose between moving back in with my parents, becoming a hobo for real, or going back to temping. Until then, I'm going to give it my all and hope for the best.
Labels: changes, life, work