I have to warn you, this is a very long post. This is an unloading of all that is in my heart and I’ve needed to write this for a long time.
With my friends during our last year of high school. I’m in the front right.
I graduated high school seven years ago. I can barely contemplate that, 2005 doesn’t seem that long ago until I count the years. I have spent the last seven years completely lost and at times I realise that I was lying to myself. Majorly. I have been so fortunate to have found the man that I will spend the rest of my life with at such a young age. That part of my life (a huge part – the part that fills my soul) is so full.
Lynden and I.
However, I had lost all self ambition and spent many of my days hoping to find a purpose.
I recently discovered the purpose I think I was made for, but even then I didn’t realise that God had even more planned for me than I could have dreamed of…and I am so thankful.
In 2006 I started a double degree in psychology and human resource management. I chose the degree because, in my last year of high school, I had to make a choice whether I was ready or not. Some take a gap year, but I know that personally that wouldn’t have helped me, I would’ve wasted it. So, I convinced myself that I’d really love this choice I’d made; I convinced myself to continue on without complaint. People often asked how I liked what I was doing and I would always respond with a smile and happy news. I lied to myself. I told myself I was happy, that I’d love it, that it didn’t crush my spirit. Why? I think I was scared of having to make the choice again, of having to search my heart for what I was made for; for what I truly desired. So I spent four miserable years completing those two degrees. I only had one year left. Then it suddenly dawned on me, the closer I got to the end, that I could never imagine myself working as a psychologist or in commerce. As a psychologist I wouldn’t be able to leave my work behind, I knew I’d come home depressed. As a business woman, I knew I could fake it, but I’d hate hate hate it.
That’s when Lynden gave me the permission to dream and I will always be thankful for that. I had never given myself that permission before. At first it seems like it wouldn’t be that hard for Lynden to do, but we had plans; plans to finish uni, to save, build a house, have a family. This choice I was making to not complete my course, to start fresh, would put all those plans aside – I was making a decision that would affect both our lives in a big way.
So, we brainstormed: what would I like to do? What would make me happy? In that time I was so crushed in spirit that I suddenly started feeling like I could dream of anything, and I did. There were moments during all of these years so far that God was whispering to me what he wanted for me, what he knew I would love. Teaching. I ignored it. People would randomly come up to me after only knowing me for a few moments and tell me that I’d make a great teacher. People that I knew for years would tell me that I’d make a great teacher. I would always scoff and say that I would never be a teacher. Both my parents are teachers and I knew the amount of work it took and that you always brought your work home; I couldn’t imagine myself being in charge of a group of 30 children and surviving. I couldn’t even imagine myself in charge of one. I am not a patient person.
Asterix distracting me from the torture of commerce study.
During the two years before I decided to quit my double degree, my cousin had asked me to help him out because they were really low on piano teachers at his music store. I said an absolute no to his request because of all the reasons I mentioned above and put that to rest. When I told my parents they tried to encourage me to do it, telling me they thought I’d be great. I consistently said no. But back in 2007 I ended up quitting my job and Lynden’s sister conveniently asked if I was available for an interview because her company needed a sales rep in WA. So I worked there for a few months. Then, I stopped working there at the end of January, and in February I got another call from my cousin asking me again if I could help him out. With the encouragement I got from my family, I agreed to do it despite the fear that had controlled me before. When I look back at that time, I marvel at how perfectly God looked after me and how perfectly everything lined up so that I had work and how the timing would eventually lead me to working as a piano teacher. So I worked as a piano teacher for two years and I loved it. A had a great rapport with the kids and I enjoyed sharing their progress with their parents. I hated having to work in the afternoons (after school time) and that it was in 30 minute time slots though. When I left, I again had a lot of encouragement from God that I’d be great at this. My cousin who I worked for thought I was really good at my job, the students were really sad that I was leaving, and the parents were devastated. Some parents even angrilly approached my cousin when they found out I was leaving, demanding to know why. I was hugely flattered since my biggest fear at that job was failing to teach my students anything and then being paid for it without deserving it. Even if the kids loved having me as their teacher, the most important part for me was that their parents were happy because it meant that they believed their children were getting something out of our lessons and I was worth what they paid me. Phew – fear abolished.
But I turned a blind eye and decided to do interior design, a big change from psych and commerce. I really enjoyed interior design and I met some great people during the time I did that course. Unfortunately I got Ross River virus and cytomegalovirus halfway through that year and I had to pull out. I spent the rest of that year in a blur…sleeping. I was so tired all the time and I just slept those six months away. However, that rest time helped me come to the realisation that I loved design but I didn’t want to work in that field.
One morning (during that time) I woke up and immediately heard the words ‘primary teaching’ come out of my lips. I have no recollection of what I was dreaming about or why I said it. Why had I just woken up and said that? Just those two words?? But I was scared at the thought of being a teacher so I ignored it and tried to tell myself I was the wrong person for that job.
Then I found photography. I was always the family photographer as a child, I was the one that owned our family camera and I would create photo shoots with my sister, dressing her up and taking pictures. When Lynden and I got married, we decided that photos were really important to us as a keepsake from our wedding (I’m not a very sentimental person otherwise – I’ll probably throw out that birthday card or wedding card you give me…sorry). I love photos; I love capturing those memories as an image (and video too). So I decided to try my hand at photography. That’s when I started this blog, during the time I thought I wanted to be a photographer. I’ve now come to the realisation that I do want to be a photographer…I just don’t want to get paid for it. I want to photograph my family and friends and moments.
So, after all the signs that had been leading up to me being a teacher, I was still ignoring it but still getting nudges in that direction from all sides. My family (on both mine and Lynden’s side) talked about me being a good teacher and being good with kids. I read articles about the need for good teachers. I found myself reading government documents regarding the Australian education system for fun. What was happening?!
I all of a sudden started imagining myself caring for those kids and what I could do to change the world through a classroom. And I just knew – I wanted to be a teacher.
I prayed about it, I spoke about it, I dreamt about it. And here I am now studying to be a primary school teacher having just finished my first prac placement. I can’t tell you how worried I was that I would go to prac and realise that yet again I was in the wrong place. But, wow, can I tell you, it was the best affirmation that I am exactly where I need to be; doing what I’m doing. The staff at Bentley Primary school were sensational, the other prac students were the best group of people I could have been paired with, and the students were so full of life and wonder.
This is me with the other prac students and Brian the deputy principal on our last day :’)
My heart is full again in a way it hasn’t been in a long while. I am so happy. I am currently on my uni break and I have spent the last few days reading my education textbooks for fun!
I am so glad for the path it’s taken to get me here. I think the timing is perfect. The psychology and commerce have been a great foundation, I am better for doing it, and the interior design and photography has highly improved the beauty I see in everyday life.
Everything is just as it should be. I have found my equilibrium. Without the journey to get here I wouldn’t have the experience, life lessons, or this blog. It wouldn’t be just right.
I am so thankful for the journey.