Winners never quit and quitters never win!!! Fifteen days into my semi retirement on a leisurely Thursday morning, this garish larger than life poster jolted me out of my reverie.
Am I a quitter? I pondered. For those who came in late, I recently semi quit my job. Too scared to actually quit I have taken a six month hiatus. Like a dress rehearsal before the real thing?
After twelve years of a clockwork precise life I finally started asking myself a few relevant and irrelevant questions. Introspecting is never an elevating experience. You end up feeling “more lost” “more confused” Was I working for the moolah? Creative satisfaction? The sheen of earning wears off too soon and my creative satisfaction was far in between. Blessed are those who love their jobs. Even I went through this phase. Of meeting and overcoming challenges, of battles won and lost. There was a point in life I actually used to think teaching is the best job in the world. But after a decade of doing almost the same thing everyday, monotony began to set in. Gone was the excitement, anticipation of a new day.
For a few years I actually worked for the sake of my sarees. Ok, confession time! I love buying sarees and have quite a collection. Couldn’t bear the thought of them collecting dust in some forlorn cupboard. And in this day and age who wears sarees for just a casual outing? If you do, people stare at you as if you just landed from Mars.
I worked for the sake of my friends, for the fear of losing company, for the sake of fitness (running up and down the stairs, running after students, running away from work, it all helped), for the joy of holidays (only after darkness do you appreciate light).
Basically for all the wrong reasons.
Meanwhile I raved, ranted (that’s when a husband comes handy), tossed , cribbed and finally mustered enough courage and put in papers. The weeks that followed were a pain! In the restroom, walking down the corridors, standing under the sun doing canteen duty (yes there exists such a duty), teaching, not teaching I was counseled. Basically everyone thought I was out of my mind. Very few could relate to “I want to live my life my way” logic.
The last three months of my notice period passed in a daze. And when you know you won’t be doing this stuff for quite a while or maybe never, you do it with a rare fervor. I made cumulative registers in triplicate, wrote interesting accounts of my teaching plans complete with illustrations, made report cards, gave long lectures to students who had managed the unimaginable feat of securing 18%, taught or at least tried to teach students who were busy day dreaming of “Splitsvilla”. I was a woman on a mission. Eyes shining bright, smile playing my lips I made even more lists, checked even more papers, filled registers in red, blue and black ink. Now that I look back it almost seems surreal.
And….one not so fine, balmy morning I woke up to the last day in school. Switched off the alarm for good. In school of course there were some emotional farewells. Got to hear quite a few “lucky you”, “God is this your last day??? No wonder you look so happy”. With a light heart and slight trepidation I bid adieu to my life of 12 years.
Nearly three weeks later I am introspecting again. Hard to get rid of this pesky habit of mine.
Am I enjoying spending time with myself? Do I miss the humdrum? Breathless mornings, tired afternoons? At least not for now..but I will later ..maybe not.. who knows !
All I know is “time is not my enemy anymore but a friend”. The day stretches lazily before me and I can finally watch the Sex and the City DVDs which have been lying unopened in the shelf for the last 5 years. I can calmly handle a household calamity, listen to Trisha chatter nonstop. Greet the husband with a smiling face and not ply him with my sob stories of the day. Not sounding like the liberated woman of the 21st century, am I?
I do not know how long my honeymoon period will last. I recently met a woman who started working after 22 years of being a homemaker. She was glowing and loving every minute of this new experience. As they say, a change is always for the better.
So am I a quitter?? Yes, I quit only to embrace a life less lived, a path less trodden.