Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So, what’s next?

Aloha again from the wilds of Northern Virginia. While I’ve had an awful lot to say over the last few months since my last column, none of it has really been suitable for this space. All are as well as can be expected here despite recent bouts with Lyme disease, school ending, and a myriad of kid issues both common and uncommon. But this is not really a column about the kids. This one is about me, your host here at Aloha Kugs. Sort of.

Next year, the twins will enter first grade and the Bear will be in preschool five days a week for three hours a day. It will be the first time that all three of them will be at school at the same time, albeit for about 2.5 hours each day. Despite this dramatic influx of “kid-free time,” it looks very much like my day-to-day life is unlikely to change all that much next year. I have plenty of responsibilities and tasks at home that will likely eat away at that time pretty regularly. I imagine I’ll be able to get my chores done more effectively without someone, who shall remain nameless, constantly yanking the vacuum cord out of the wall while I’m cleaning. I will probably also be able to help out with more at the kids schools than I have previously, but in the end, I imagine that this year will be very similar to years past in terms of what I’m able to accomplish on a daily basis.

I am hopeful that I will be able to carve out time to write both next year and this summer, as I have two projects going right now that are fighting for my attention. The truth is that my writing has taken a back seat to other issues over the last few months. I have moved on from the completed novel, although I did learn recently that a sample I submitted to a small independent publisher back in February is currently under active consideration. It was nice to hear, but I’m not holding my breath, nor am I actively sending it out anymore. I am also not pursing self-publishing at this time on that one either. (Update: the novel was declined by the publisher before I completed this column)

So, while my life is unlikely to change a ton next school year, I still find myself thinking about the future. That and the question I keep getting from every corner of my life including family, friends, and random strangers at the library and Safeway is: What are you going to do once the kids are in school? Are you going back to work? What’s next? An interesting question for which I have no real answer.

It seems a strange question to ask at my advancing age. What am I going to do next with my life once my current position is rendered less significant by full-day schooling starting in fall 2012?

I suppose that it may very well depend on what the needs of my family are, but if I had my choice, I’d love to be a wildly successful full-time professional writer by that point. That would be quite nice, thank you, though the lack of time to write makes it somewhat less likely, as does the rather precarious state of publishing these days. But, to say I will be making as much of a go at it as I can in the coming year would be an understatement.

Should that not happen, then what? How long can I justify staying home and working to be a writer if it doesn’t happen? At what point do I need to find something else to do with my life? What can I do? What do I want to do?

Truth is, I don’t really know. I’ve been out of the Education business for nearly four years now. I hadn’t stepped foot onto a high school campus since 2007 before this morning, when I dropped the kids off at soccer camp. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get a little charge when I walked into the stadium this morning. I definitely had a few flashback moments as I entered the facility and came out onto the track, the gleaming stands to my right, a sea of kids and coaches getting ready to train. It felt like it could have been just last week that I was right smack in the middle of all that business back in Jersey.

Except that it wasn’t. It was four years ago and four years is a very long time to be away from any industry, especially one as dynamic as education. Although it was definitely a good feeling to step onto a campus again, I don’t know if I even have it in me still to do that work. I don’t know that I want to dive back into the pressure cooker that working in a school can be, should anyone even really want me down here, after I jump through the VA Certification hoops. While I have some very good memories of my thirteen years in both public and private education, there were reasons I walked away, and I don’t imagine they have changed that much in four years.

I suppose I could go back to restaurant work. I was a pretty good server/bartender in my day. That’s an option, isn’t it? Again, it’s not one I really feel called to do, but it’s something I’ve done.

So, what’s next? I really don’t know. I suppose for the moment it’s not really a question that I have to have an answer for, but that doesn’t mean I’m not thinking about it quite a bit. I can’t be the only person in the world who’s faced/is facing it, so, what’s your story?