It’s funny how easy it is to fall into a routine, even when doing interesting things. You do something adventurous, enjoy it and then want to do something adventurous again. What you did before worked, so you do something similar. That works again, so you do the same sort of thing the next time. You’re having an adventurous, exciting time of things …but you’re still getting into a bit of a rut.
That’s what I’ve done with my career in international teaching. I got a job teaching at an international school in Kenya. It was an exciting time, a wonderful experience. It was full of adventures and new opportunities, and I wanted to do more. So I went and got another job, this time in Indonesia. That was another terrific experience, so my wife and I got jobs in Zambia. Then the USA, which was a different type of adventure. Then Tanzania. Then Ethiopia.
Recently, we’d decided that it was time to move on from Ethiopia. We were enjoying the school and the country, made good friends and had good opportunities for our daughter, but we wanted more. We wanted a change. In some ways, Ethiopia had become routine and we wanted another adventure.
But something different happened. This time, the routine didn’t work.
We weren’t ready to just take a job anywhere. We had something specific in mind. We wanted to live in Portugal. And there were no jobs available for us at the time. And the school we wanted to enroll our daughter in was full.
Suddenly, we were jolted out of our routine. What we’d planned for didn’t work out. It wasn’t going to be like our previous adventures. We were dismayed and upset. We were sad for our daughter and worried for ourselves. What could we do?
We decided to take the leap.
We are going anyway. We are moving to the place we want to live in, without jobs for the moment. We’re going to take our daughter, and find an alternative to the school we wanted. We’re going to make it work.
It’s funny what happens when you take a leap like that.
All of a sudden, we started thinking of fresh ideas and new ways of planning. We didn’t have new opportunities presented to us, but we started thinking up new opportunities that we could make happen for ourselves.
No teaching jobs? We could start a business. Or do part-time tutoring instead of teaching. Maybe teach online. We’ll have time to do all sorts of things – even do creative things like photography or painting or…
Rather than settle for a school routine for our child, we could homeschool her. Instead of being tied to a school calendar, we could plan trips to see family whenever we like (or whenever there are discount airfares). Our daughter can do as much sport as she likes, and travel for tournaments around the country and around the continent.
Once we made the leap out of the routine, suddenly there were a myriad of possibilities for us to explore and our minds were open to completely new ideas.
It’s an exciting time for us – scary and uncertain, to be sure. But the possibilities and potential opportunities are also exhilarating!
Life is like the monkey bars: you have to let go to move forward.