I haven't posted since Tuesday because I didn't have anything to post. The closer we get to my older son's graduation from high school, the less time I have to stamp, so expect sporadic posting in the coming weeks.
For Mother's Day, I made time to stamp, and then my camera battery died, so I still have no stamping to share. What a bust!
The battery will be recharged tomorrow, and I'll post a card. If you read Simplicity for the stamping, check back tomorrow. The rest of this post gets personal, and if you want to click away now, I totally understand. My life's not that interesting, but perhaps you might find my musings about middle-aged existential angst helpful.
First of all, I'm getting my resume together to apply for jobs. It's time for me to get back to work. My boys are old enough to cope with my absence, Nick is heading to college in August, Jack has made phenomenal progress in the past few years, and I'm in need of a new challenge.
My preferred employment would be at a university as an adjunct instructor of English composition and literature. I did this job twenty years ago--very successfully. Teaching college suits my personality and skill set beautifully. My evaluations from students and department heads who observed my classes were always excellent. I am prompt, professional, knowledgeable in my subject (some might say a tad obsessed), extremely enthusiastic, and deeply compassionate toward my students.
This is, however, a scary transition, and I wasn't prepared for that. What is it about women that we doubt ourselves despite all evidence to the contrary? Yes, I've been a stay-at-home mom for eighteen years, but that hardly means I sat around eating bonbons and asking my children to peel me grapes. The two years before I had Nick, I worked at a major high-tech corporate headquarters as a writer/editor with all sorts of responsibility. Since then, I've worked hard as a volunteer in schools and in church, expanded my public speaking skills, taught Stephen Ministry and Bible study classes, researched the dickens out of autism, managed my son's treatment and reaped huge improvements for him as a result, organized four moves for our family, and generally keep everything running smoothly in our lives.
I am competent, smart, and talented in all the right ways. I can do this job...joyfully and well.
So why in the heck am I afraid to hit send on these applications? After all, what's the worst thing that can happen? I don't get a job teaching and end up selling books at Barnes & Noble (33% employee discount...yay!) and trying to work as a freelance writer/editor.
Not too shabby a worst-case scenario, in my opinion. Especially the discount. I buy a lot of books.
If I psychoanalyze myself, there are two possible explanations. One, I've still got work to do on the perfectionism that is the legacy of a childhood spent under the eternally disapproving eye of my father. What if I fail!?!?! How horrible!!!! My daddy won't love me!!!!
Seriously? I'm 51, and is this still hanging around in the shadowy recesses of my subconscious? Plus, stamping has taught me the value and fun of failure. Why should that bother me here? The consequences are certainly not life-threatening. The stakes were higher with my autism research.
Two, I'm feeling the pressure of having read a few too many articles about older women re-entering the workforce. But the only thing that's changed substantially in my career fields in twenty years is technology, and I'm a fast learner. Current best practices of teaching English are essentially the same. The rules of rhetoric and effective written communication haven't substantially changed in millenia. I've got this.
Just typing that last sentence made my stomach do a flip.
If you've read this far, thank you. Even though my stomach flipped, it's enormously helpful to share my feelings with you, kind and sympathetic stampers. Stampers are the best! I know I'm not alone in my insecurities, and if you're feeling a bit like me, afraid of taking a new step forward, I'm right there with you.
I also recommend reading Adam Hamilton's new book Unafraid: Living with Courage and Hope in Uncertain Times. It's faith-based, if you're into that sort of thing, and extremely inspiring. I am finding it helpful, and you might, too.
Scripture tells us over and over not to be afraid. Well, I am. (Bad Christian, Susan! Bad!) But I'm doing this anyway. I'm moving forward, despite stomach flips and nausea. And if I'm overcoming my fear, you can, too.
If you feel so moved, share your fears and upcoming transitions in the comments. Let's all inspire one another to move forward.
And happy Mother's Day to all women who have mothered anyone anywhere at any time. What would we do without each other?
Mercy, grace, peace, and love,
PS Gratuitous family picture from George's birthday dinner last night.