Left Behind

I’m still getting emails from my school even though I’m not working there this year. I haven’t disconnected it from my phone yet because I’m still getting a few messages from people who don’t know I’m not working this year and that information needs to be passed along to whoever is teaching my classes. So, each day, I still get the pleasure of deleting dozens of emails.

While I don’t regret the choice I made to stay home this year, I can’t help but feel a little left behind, like everyone else’s lives are moving on and mine is stuck in neutral for a year. I know it’s not in neutral because my kid keeps growing each day and can now utter two “aghs” in a row instead of one (big steps), and we are going to add a second kid to the mix in like five months (oh my god how do you do two kids?), but still, I don’t think I quite realized how much fulfillment I got out of working.

I really enjoy working with kids and helping them learn and grow. It gives me a sense of accomplishment that I don’t always get in my non-work life. I feel like my job has meaning and purpose, so, in turn, I have a meaning and purpose. I know my job now is watching Rory but seriously, throw on some Daniel Tiger and that kid is set for an hour or two. Minimum. But beyond working with kids, I think I may miss the social aspect even more.

Talking to my friends from work feels a bit like coming back to your hometown during Christmas break after the first year at college. You still know everyone and you are still friends but you don’t share the same experiences any longer. My friends have work stories. I have baby toxic poop stories. They can talk about how virtual learning is going. I can talk about the new route I took walking today. They complain about bosses. I say how my wife didn’t let me have Taco Bell three meals in a row. You aren’t living in the same world any longer.

I’ve looked at a few jobs and interviewed for one but the hours wouldn’t have fit with me watching Rory on days that Lisa works, so it wasn’t going to work. But even then, it wouldn’t have had the same feel to it. Until I can get back into a school and teach again, it won’t be the same.

I’m slowly adjusting to a new normal here but there is always a tinge of FOMO about what is happening with my friends at work. I’ll get over it, I’m sure. But right now, I feel like I should be somewhere else but know I can’t. I’ll figure out my place soon enough but I don’t think I’ll disconnect my email quite yet.

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