For the past week I have enjoyed two hours of uninterrupted writing every day while my girls are at camp and I will miss this time. Writing makes me happy and makes me wonder. Happiness has been a fascination of mine for awhile, ever since my darkest time when my career goal of being a professor was ripped out of my hands with very little warning.
In two weeks I go back to work for my 7th year teaching and my 3rd year as a middle school choir teacher and I continue to struggle with the question, “Will I ever be happy in this position?” The book The Happiness Project has given me some research and facts to apply to this question, but as is often the case the answers just bring more questions. For example a percentage of our capacity for happiness is inherited. So am I predisposed to unhappiness, because of my parents? Well, these summers I spend with my family doing projects and experiencing the world together, I’m very rarely unhappy. So eat that genetics! Also, thank you to my family for giving me such an awesome home life.
Then The Happiness Project points out the fact that you won’t be successful or happy in your job if it is not something you enjoy pursuing in your free time. I enjoy and obsess over music, reading and writing, but teaching? But does anyone really enjoy making lesson plans or discipline procedures. (There is no question mark here, because I believe it to not be a question.) The key would seem to be focusing on the parts of teaching I love and hold them as my reward for all the paperwork. But then there is the negative attitudes and the verbal abuse I suffer from my students. Most of them have a rough home life and crazy hormones and I try to keep that in mind and react in love, but the attitudes get to me.
I also wonder if I am not as happy as I could be in this job, because I’m holding onto the past. At the start of my career I only wanted to teach band and later I never wanted to teach outside of the college realm. This position questions the way I have always seen myself and I’m not sure I’m ready to let go of the old image yet.
Wole sees my questioning and unhappiness during the school year and his solution is usually a career change. The comforts of this job, including job security and reasonable pay and hours make me reluctant to leave, but do I really want to be part of the eighty percent of Americans unhappy with their current job? I struggle daily with whether I just need to put in the hours and perspective to be happy in this career or whether a new career needs to be explored, as financially scary as that is. No clear answers or cute little wrap up for this post, just a lot of questions and a determination to chase happiness. Hey that’s the American dream right?