I try to keep my personal life to myself for the most part. And I have done a pretty good job of doing that. I have a way of compartmentalizing my life because it helps me to be more effective in my work when I am focused on the task at hand. It is a tactic that has also helped me grapple with some hard truths throughout the years.
This year has been a tough one, though. And what I am feeling, I am certain, is probably not unique to me.
As I finished my 12th year of teaching, there was much I celebrated. It is arguably the most successful one I have had in my career. My students soared in competitions and I was personally invited to present about my passions in education in a variety of venues, including ECET2 (which blew my mind). If I started listing them off, not to sound conceded, it is impressive.
But with every new accomplishment and accolade, I have had trouble with allowing myself to really celebrate it.
This was also the year I was diagnosed with PCOS, which has helped explain why my husband and I have been unable to have a baby after 6 years of trying.
My husband and I celebrated our 12th year of marriage this summer. And up until my 30's everything was really going according to plan. I graduated from high school, got engaged, graduated from college, got married, got a job, graduated from college again with my masters... all with great accuracy to the plan I had mapped out for myself early on and then some with added successes for both my students and myself.
But, some plans are beyond control... which is unfortunate.
And even more unfortunate is how I have allowed this personal biological lacking to seep into the otherwise joyful professional moments of last school year and tinge it with a feeling of failure for every success.
I am not writing this post as a search for sympathy or even suggestions of what to do next. The truth is, I don't know what I want to do next in this aspect of my life. And that has to be okay for now. At least, it has to be for me because I am the one who has to face it.
I am sharing in the hopes that if you are struggling, too, you know you are not alone.
So, as I just celebrated my 35th birthday, I have some facts to face about how I plan to cope moving forward.
It was important and the right time for me to share this part of my struggle. In the short run, it has been a rollercoaster of emotions, many of which include failure. In the long run, I know it will help me be more compassionate, more understanding, and more emotionally available to others both in and out of the classroom.
To anyone else who is struggling, too, just know you are not alone and that it is okay to feel sad, even when all evidence shows you otherwise.
As a quote from Vanilla Sky sums it up for me: Just remember, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour.