A year of changes

2014 was definitely a transition year. We started it out by making an offer on a house in Enterprise and making a commitment toward…well, at least a lifestyle spent between Portland and Northeastern Oregon. A return to the roots of our marriage, so to say.

This was also the year that I walked away from teaching. Everyone else around me calls it “retirement.” I don’t call it that, not really. For one thing, I’m too damn young to be retiring, at fifty-seven. For another, it was something I had to do, not something that I planned for due to age and appropriate rewards and such. I made it to ten years, but the last four were a battle, and I’m angry about how and why it happened. Oh, I left in good standing. My last review was bad only because my kids didn’t make the test score goal I set, and I’m fully aware that it was a statistical game that could have been massaged and tweaked to show better results. I didn’t leave because I was forced out.

I left because I could no longer honestly collaborate in what we’re doing to our kids. I left because I could no longer condone the shell that special education is becoming. I left because I had no more strength to fight back, and to remain longer would take a further toll on my physical and emotional health.

I didn’t want to leave. But I almost stayed too long, for my own good. And I’m angry about it.

I still want to do something in education. But I won’t go out and get a doctorate, because I refuse to put myself through that level of torture for diminishing returns. I’d love to find some tutoring gigs, or consulting gigs, or something. However, the time hasn’t been right. I’ve needed time to rest and recover, and figure out where I’m going to be and how much time I’m going to commit to the education part of my life. That plan is going to be several years in the making.

Meanwhile, there’s the writing. This past fall, I suddenly (hmm, about midway through the semester, about conference time) switched from Teacher Brain to Retail Artisan Brain. After that oh shit I’m not ready for the season moment, I hustled, and I’m honestly proud of how quickly I brought things together. But it was hard, pounding work and I didn’t get a lot of immediate return on it. These things are a learning curve, though, and one thing I have planned to do–probably during my down time in Enterprise this weekend–is to sit down and plan out a publishing schedule for next year which takes into consideration Amazon Kindle Select schedules, holiday schedules, special event schedules, and so on. I used to do this for my jewelry. Now it’s time to put it together for my writing. Since I have a better idea of what’s what and how long it takes me to put something together, I think I can create a schedule which allows for both self-publication and outside submission deadlines. I need to get a handle on promotion as well (famous last words).

Look, I managed to figure out how to get on the Amazon Top 100 for two publications, one of which lasted dang near all of December. I’ve been a Writers of the Future SemiFinalist. I know I can take the writing to the next level. It’s time to get serious about it and lay out the projects and put down the words.

The big issue is time. Carving out time to write, carving out time to blog, carving out time to promote, carving out time to live.

I’ve also decided to get back into the craft world, so I’m going to be making more noise about creating and selling jewelry again. Part of my plans for the office in Enterprise incorporates a jewelry-making and sewing space. I don’t delude myself that I sew well enough to sell my work, but, then again, maybe so.

But I also want time to breathe mountain air, and exist on hillsides while gazing at stunning views. I want to ride my horse across rolling hillsides.

And I want to be able to create a nest that is all our own. I want all these things, but I want to be able to live, to breathe, to enjoy. To move the earth somehow, to change things for the better. To leave this world a little bit–or even a greater bit–better because of something I managed to do.

That’s what 2015 is going to be about.

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