that time where I figured out what I want to do with my life.

So, in losing my job I really felt like I had an opportunity to really reflect and figure out what I wanted out of life. And as I reflected and really tried to figure out what was most important to me, I kept returning to writing and education/academics. No matter what I considered, what I thought about, where I looked… I’d always return back to wanting to do something, anything with writing and education. Nothing else felts this right or had that strong of a pull.

Ok. ok. Now. What do I do with this? Where do I go from here?

First thoughts: grad school. I’d considered this option a few times. There’s a lot of things I’m torn on. There aren’t many writing options in Chicago, and funding might not be possible. I’m not sure I’m ready to leave Chicago, even if I did get accepted into a good program with full funding. Also, outside of Northwestern’s program (which has no funding, is NU so it’s expensive, but has my favorite author), the soonest I could start is Fall 2014. One year away.

The other issue is that the market is basically flooded with MFAs looking for jobs. And the main job you can get with it, teaching, is the one I’ve figured out that I want. I remember being in 6th grade, declaring to my family that I was going to get my masters degree one day, and then envisioning life as a professor. The office with nothing but bookcases overflowing, the mahogany desk, tall windows overlooking a grassy expanse full of students…

I get it, you know, teaching is not easy. And yes, I wonder if at 29 heading off to a field I have no real practical experience in is a smart investment of my time and money… But I do want to be part of the solution. I couldn’t imagine a life without learning, curiosity, academics, being someone who cultivates that in others.

So what if grad school can’t start until 2014 — applications are due in January, which really isn’t that far off given that I need to create a strong writing sample before then. And funding? I’ve got to trust that something will work out. No, I haven’t taught, but I can still explore the realm of teaching. I’m enrolled in a handful of teacher education courses through Coursera. It’s not the same as practical experience, but it’s something.

Now it’s just a matter of getting from here to there. I don’t know what that path will look like. I don’t even know if I’ll get accepted into a program at all, or even if I do if I will be able to afford it. Hell, I can’t even honestly say that this is really the right career path for me and that I won’t change my mind in three months. I just know right now, this is what I want. I just hate that there’s so much time between here and where I want to be.