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I’m doing the right thing, right?  I’m trying to better my life and provide for my children’s future.  Everyone cheered me when I announced my return to school.  It’s the smart thing to do.  I’m setting a good example for my kids, they said.

When I recently asked for prayer because I’m considering quitting my degree program at community college, people rallied, “You can do this!”  “Don’t give up!”  “This is just a test in perseverance.” “What would you tell your kids if they said that to you?”

Nobody likes a quitter.

Well, ya know what, a lot of people don’t like me anyway!  Besides, who am I trying to please?

I have some tough decisions to make.  So, here’s the low down:

  • I’m running myself ragged, and I’m not much fun to be around these days.
  • I’m turning down work and missing work, which means I’m losing desperately needed income.
  • I feel like I hardly see my kids.
  • I never cook a decent meal for my children.
  • I’m not keeping up with the children’s schooling.
  • My body is getting used to sleeping for only four or five hours (after I worked so hard to train myself to sleep) so I’m no longer able to sleep more than five hours….once again.
  • I’m not learning the material at school anyway, and no one who’s supposed to care does.
  • I seldom write here on my beloved blog anymore.  I miss you all!
  • I’m missing important events in my loved ones’ lives.
  • I’m not working out, going to treatment, eating right, or taking my supplements.
  • My former physical symptoms are resurfacing.

Why am I sacrificing so much?  To earn a degree, of course!  Eventually I’ll make better money and be able to work from home!  Eventually…..when my youngest child has one foot out the door, and it isn’t even necessary for me to be home anymore.  Eventually……I’m a little (a lot) old to be trying to compete with young, 20 somethings for the best positions.   Eventually…..after I’ve missed six years of living.

I am pausing to ask myself what is really important to me.  And, to admit I was wrong.

I thought re-education would be the key to achieving my goals and dreams.  But, what are my goals and dreams?  Really?

I live every day with the awareness that I am at an increased risk for a full stroke.  I’ve also buried enough friends and friends’ children to be fully aware that none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  So, what if I had a crystal ball that could tell me that I am going to stroke out and be confined to a wheelchair in exactly ten years and five months?  Or, what if it said that I’ll be killed in a car accident in two years?  Or, what if it told me my ex is going to finally kill me in six months?

Is this how I want to spend the last six months, two years, or ten years of my life?

NO!

I WANT TO LIVE!  I mean, I want to live whatever life I have to its fullest!  Each and every day is a gift to be unwrapped and enjoyed, and I’m no longer enjoying any of it.  I’m surviving, marking off the days until I can hopefully get a reprieve.  If I can just make it to midterms.  If I can just hang in there until spring break.  It feels very much like living with any of my abusers…..barely surviving each day, waiting for some day in the future to alleviate a bit of the constant pressure.

The thing is, my passions are my God, my children, home schooling, connecting with others, natural living, and this blog.  Work isn’t a passion for me.  I know it is for some, but, if I had my druthers, I’d be working as a wife and mother.  I have never ever ever in my entire life longed to be a career woman.  Even my dream job, being a writer, isn’t the big city, journalist type.  It’s the sitting by the river with a laptop version.

Returning to school, sacrificing each day of my life for the next six years, so that I can perhaps some day in the very far off future potentially make more money is feeling rather foolish once I perform a little values clarification.  Because, you see, I’ve sacrificed all of my passions in the process.  And, I feel empty.  I feel like I’m pursuing what I believe is expected of me, rather than what truly makes me joyful and content.

I want to serve my God and connect with others.  Funny thing is, one of my clients asked me to pray with her last week.  And, her sister, a stroke victim, struggled very hard to tell me something.  She was thrilled when I got it, and we were communicating.  My current vocation does allow me to connect with God and others.

I want to be a writer.  I have a blog where I give and receive–receive more than I give–support with others.  Again, connecting.  And, writing!

I want to live naturally, which takes time I no longer have now that I’m in school and working.

And, I want to be there, truly be there, which takes, well, being there, for my children.  I want to make memories with them.  Memories that aren’t filled with violence.  I want to give them the best foundation in life that I can by pouring myself into their education, the way I did with the older children.

My little cleaning business is menial labor.  Yep, I spend my days hunkered over toilets scraping feces off of rims and picking up body hair from showers, plugging my vacuum with someone else’s dog’s hair.  It sucks.  But, it is MY business.  If I don’t really like a client, I can graciously find a way to quit working for them.  I have enough other work that I have that freedom.  I can also reschedule for emergencies and vacations and time with my kids without fearing a boss’s reprisal.

I consider nearly all of my clients friends.  I’m charging enough of an hourly wage now that if I chose to work more hours a week, I could make as much as I would as a graphic designer in my area!  All in all, it’s not a bad gig.  It has allowed me time to home school, build a new life with my kids, and blog.  It has allowed me time to get stronger and healthier.

I don’t think I feel the need to hang a diploma on my wall.  And, I’m quite certain it won’t bring me the joy I feel when you respond to what I write or when my daughter is able to read “the fast way,” or when my children and I are dancing together or when my client asks me to pray with her.

That’s my values clarification.

I don’t value the pursuit of a degree enough to continue on with it and sacrifice everything in my life that I do value.

Another of my clients, whom I consider a sweet friend, has suggested that I get my real estate license and work with her.  She’s been a realtor her entire life and would be an excellent mentor.  Most of the work can be done from home on a computer.  Sure, I’ll have to go out to show houses, but I can take one child with me.  The course is relatively inexpensive, completely from home, 120 hours over the course of eight months done at my own pace.   It’s something to consider.

I’ve spent my life believing that when one door closes another one opens, and I had no other options but to walk through the first door that opened.  I falsely believed that once I walked through a door, there was no turning back.  I was told, “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.”  But, I’ve come to believe that’s a lie and a trap.

My chiropractor shares my new outlook.  He once told me he’s never understood that mindset of sticking with something no matter how bad it is.  “If something isn’t working for you, change it!” he said.

Sure, I’ll be judged for being a quitter.  My decisions will be seen as walking away from an opportunity, committing my life to poverty…and those poor children along with me.  I can see them all wagging their heads at me now.  But, that is the basis of my new free life.  It is MY life.  And, I am FREE to make choices for my LIFE.

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