I think this is where I come back to you.
Over the course of the last year or so, and especially over the last few months, I went quiet. I didn't do that because I was withdrawing from the world; I did it because I was occupied in the world. In the world and in myself, seeing truths and admitting faults that had long needed to be unmasked and accounted for. I needed time to discover where I'd been, and why. I needed time to discover where I was going.
And I honestly still don't know. I don't say that in a directionless or conflicted way; I mean that the last couple of years, and the last year in particular, have taught me life is an uncertain thing full of constant change. I am fortunate enough that some of the changes thrown my way, beginning about last summer, conferred a degree of self-awareness I'd sorely lacked before.
But in terms of the specific track of the thing, of my life? Who in the world knows?
As recently as last August, I believed I was going to work at Native State Public Relations, forging a new path in communications as opposed to education. As recently as October, I knew that wasn't true. As recently as December, a master's degree was conferred on me and my path turned back to teaching. As recently as January, I was reveling in the job interview that had gone so well, the one I thought I'd probably nailed. As recently as three weeks ago, I was weeping with happiness because of the glowing phone call from an assistant principal that I was the right choice for the position. As recently as two weeks ago, I was headed back to Southern State, to the Goldlands from which I came, to take the position I was so happy God had put before me. As recently as one week ago, I was broken by a single e-mail. What does taking a position "in a different direction" even mean? As recently as five days ago, I saw gloom.
Who would have predicted I'd be pulled not south, but as far north as north goes? Not to an Old Dominion, but to a Last Frontier?
That's a big part of why I haven't written: cognizance that ever-shifting possibilities needed time to settle. When the most concrete of the teaching opportunities I've yet gotten came my way, it was almost a fluke. It also, like many things of greater import than might initially be apparent, started as a joke. A friend in graduate school was from Aurora City and I cracked that we should apply for work there because "they [didn't] have any people" and needed the help.
This turned out to be true, and in light of the competitive salaries and the fascinating nature of the region, I decided to start an initial fact-finding mission, my sole intention being to determine if a job in that part of the world would even be something I'd want. I was on my third informational interview with my second school district when the director of personnel pulled a fast one.
"Not to put you on the spot or anything," he said by way of putting me on the spot. "But we have a vacancy we actually need to fill right now."
"Think about it," he laughed. "It's a lot. Just a mull it over."
I can always interview for the job, I thought. No harm in that, and I don't have to take it.
I spoke with HR via Skype, then with the school principal by telephone. He told me he'd offer me a contract if I wanted it, and I told him, thinking my ticket to Southern State was a sure thing, that I'd take the weekend to think on it. That was Friday. Southern State went "in a different direction" on Tuesday, and by Tuesday night my weekend to think about it had led me to some unexpected thoughts.
Three days ago, an official offer came from a school district 4,000 miles away. I accepted.
The actual contract, which I will actually sign, will likely arrive by e-mail tomorrow. So there's uncertainty in all things, but less uncertainty here than in other things. After all: how many teachers will they find willing to move to Arctic State in February?
That this will constitute change of a very dramatic nature is undeniable. That it will present challenges both logistical and personal is, of course, inevitable, too. Already I am rushing around to switch my banking, to pack my things, to assemble lists of winter supplies. Already I'm e-mailing a roommate with whom I'll soon share a house on the edge of the sea. Already I'm calling family and friends, people I love dearly, to arrange last hurrahs before a long flight north.
But this is the right thing to do. Even knowing I may fail, it is the right thing to do. Opportunity comes when it comes, and at some point living in fear has to give way to living with reasonable risks, if living is to occur at all.
So I'm going somewhere new, in many senses. I hope that, as in years before, we can follow each other across different frontiers.