Today I went to class drunk, which is actually as good a segue as any into my rationale for quitting school after this semester is over.
I’ll start with this: Over the last six or eight weeks, I have gained ten pounds, developed an acne all around my mouth that JUST WILL NOT QUIT, and become a lightweight alcoholic. It has been four months since I have cleaned my home with actual cleaning products, and probably two months since I went to the supermarket to buy food which I then prepared in the form of wholesome meals which I then ate. I’m living off of Cheerios and vodka. Which, hey, if that works for you, kudos. It doesn’t work for me.
For a long time I was having trouble figuring why all my life was going to hell. Billy and I were fighting a lot, I think I mentioned the acne issue, and I was having to go commando more than I’m used to on account of we never have quarters around to do laundry. Never mind the fact that there is a bank one block from our home that is open nearly around the clock just waiting to dispense quarters for our dollars.
What it comes down to is this: Despite my superhero powers, I cannot work a job where I actually use my brain on a regular basis AND put in 40-50 hours a week at that job AND take classes at a campus that is 45 minutes away from everything AND keep my apartment clean AND cook healthy meals on a regular basis AND be nice to my husband AND sleep AND do homework AND go to the gym AND watch “Knight Rider” AND maintain any semblance of a social life. I’ve tried it for two semesters now and it does not work. Not for me.
So there is a choice: Keep the job or stay in school. I chose the job. There is a many-fold reasoning to this.
For one, I actually like the job, sometimes. That’s something I have not been able to say for most of my adult working life. The only job I liked more was selling programs at Hudson Valley Stadium for the Renegades, and they’re not in season right now so that is just not an option.
For another, I am getting paid rather well for a job I also do rather well. I’m paying off debt. I have no credit card debt hanging over my head. I’m very close to paying off one of my three student loans. I have money in savings and a down payment on a very nice house actually seems attainable before I die. These are all things that make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. For the first time in my life, I feel financially stable. That is a REALLY good feeling.
For another thing, I have watched people I admire get completely beaten down by teaching. Many, many people, including both my parents and at least seven other people I thought could handle just about anything. Being a teacher comes down to having the ability to fight several losing battles every single day and still get up the next day with the hope that this day you will make a difference. Some people have the personality to endure this, and even win a day here and there. I know that I do not. I take everything far too personally, and I become very emotionally invested in all my work. Put kids into the equation and I think I would not last two weeks before I would either kill myself or everyone around me, and I just don’t think I want to put myself in that situation on purpose.
For yet another thing, although I love art, it was never in my plan to become a fine artist. So, since I don’t want to teach and I don’t want to become a fine artist on the museum circuit, it doesn’t make sense to lay out money to get a bachelors degree when a) I already HAVE a bachelors degree, and b) I have no use for a degree in art education.
And, for the best thing, and the part that has me so excited I can’t breathe sometimes, is that within 5-6 years, I estimate I could be living a debt-free existence in a house that I own, and be stable and solvent enough to start my very own business. And what is this business, you ask? That is the beauty of it all. It is a studio gallery for amateur and young artists, who can come and take independent classes, learn something about art, and maybe even sell their work. I intend to have a pastry shop and wine bar in the corner so that a few nights a week, people could come in and snack and drink wine (or tea, or coffee, or Bailey’s, or whatever) while working on watercolors or sculpture or knitting or whatever their whim. I think this plan suits my personality – I get to be in charge, I get to be an artist, and I get to teach. And what I hope will be the byproduct of learning art is that people also learn something about themselves and their community. That art is a gateway to a sort of self-awareness that can otherwise be very difficult to achieve.
And so, that’s the new plan.
The timing couldn’t be better; tomorrow is the day I find out whether or not I am getting laid off from my job.