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Ordinary Days

It is just a fact of life that most days are ordinary for most people. That they happen regularly is exactly what makes them ordinary. And we need them, these ordinary days. Without them, there would be no EXTRAordinary days.

It was the last day of my first semester of teaching today. I thought it would feel a bit more significant than it did. I thought my students might break into song or at least heave a big, collective sigh of relief/accomplishment/satisfaction. They didn’t, of course. They were as exhausted as I am, just putting one foot in front of the other like all of us, not to mention trying to maintain a whole additional life and social status online…poor kids.

Maybe I should have done something to make it more special. Honestly, though, I didn’t have time to even think about it. I was up until midnight two nights in a row this week writing my finals (just in the nick of time).

With each passing day of teaching I am deciding more and more that I hate it and also that there is nothing else I would rather do. I’ve been looking through entry-level job postings in all sorts of fields. They sound glamorous at first. And the appeal of a regular 9 to 5 schedule is great. But when I picture what I’d actually be doing every day, I realize that what I get to do every day right now is…delightful.

I get to teach kids. I get to laugh with them. I get to be creative. I get to talk about life (a little bit). I get to [try to] bring a little joy and hope and help into their crazy little lives.

I’ve thought again about what I would go back to school for if I had the option, and I still just don’t know. I’d love to do music. Or dance. But the reality is that almost EVERYONE would love to do something artistic like that, and that almost NO ONE (even the extremely naturally gifted ones) can make a dependable living in those fields.

(Here’s what it would actually take to become a Radio City Rockette – one of my top five favorite pipe dreams).

And a part of me suspects that making those things I love – music and dance – the focus of my days and source of bread and butter would kill the joy I find in them. Maybe not. But I suspect…

I think I lack the attention-span/drive/focus it takes to be an expert at one thing anyway, especially an art form that requires serious discipline and dedication. I guess I am kind of a “Renaissance Woman.” Though, “Jack of all trades, master of none” is probably more like it. I like to dabble in things. All sorts of things. And then, once I’ve gained a fairly basic understanding of what is going on in that arena, and attained a very minimum level of skill, I loose interest.

Here is a list of some of the areas in which I have achieved mediocrity:

Piano

Guitar

Knitting/Sewing

Cooking/Baking

Skiing

Dance (ballet, modern, highland, salsa)

Biology

Chemistry

Education (though my alma mater, SPU, has declared me “highly qualified”)

Biblical history

Various sports (soccer, basketball, softball, track, hiking, biking, climbing)

Writing…

The list goes on. I always manage to do decently well at most things I try, but I never buckle down and do the hard work it takes to really go somewhere. I think it all stems from one of my greatest character flaws – indecisiveness. Although I will say that I see this indecisiveness as the flip side of two of my strengths – open-mindedness and optimism. For me, everything is a possibility to be considered and explored, and all hold the potential to be good, true, and valuable. It makes it really hard to pick, you know?

This post is already too long and I need to go to bed.

The point is – maybe ordinary is okay. Maybe ordinary is good. If you live extra-ordinary every day, it just becomes ordinary anyway. I’m sure touring and playing and singing feels to U2 a lot like teaching feels to me – some days magical, other days…ordinary…and tiring.

I think if I can just figure out how to do this teaching thing more efficiently (like, in about 2/3 of the time that I am spending now) I will LOVE it.

It might be a while though. Like, maybe years. And I might end up as the 50-something, single, crazy teacher-lady with the wild hair and a sweater vest for every season.

But that’s not SO bad, is it?