Today’s as good a day as any to be grateful. I have long been a cynic by excellent and consistent practice, but I have traded in my rehearsed standard countdown toward trendy temporary dooms. Instead, I started the long walk to another new beginning. I’m returning to the classroom.

It brings mixed emotions for me, but not in the ways you might think. I have spent the last thirteen months trying different paths in earnest. Some worked better than others. I found out that I am not cut out to work in sales–at least, not in sales that do not bring meaning to me, or for me. It’s a curious selfishness, but with a wide angle, it makes perfect sense.

My grandfather was an insurance agent. It wasn’t the kind of career that defined his entire life, the way some people’s jobs account for more timelines than they ought to. It wasn’t, “Yeah, he was an insurance agent” and nothing more. This was something I had not considered when I put a couple months into studying and testing for that career shift.

In retrospect, I guess that was easy to forget, as my focus was singular: I was looking for a job to substitute substance, when I knew it wouldn’t. It can’t. At the end of last year, I even had a part-time night gig in higher education. Even though it was entry-level, it was enough light to see where I had taken a wrong turn.

Then came a few other opportunities. I have long been fascinated by financial markets–not so much in the get-rich-quick schemes and subscribe-here-to-know-the-secrets advertising cramming my inbox and social media, but more of a How do we actually retire? or How should money be working for us? kind of approach.

I wasn’t a good fit to be a financial advisor, but I am thankful for the forty-six days I spent in the vetting process. An education start-up spent another twenty days on me before they decided I wasn’t what they were looking for. I’d lie if I said I wasn’t disappointed in both cases, but a larger truth emerged. My strengths do not lie in another rebirth. They are sitting on a shelf in a classroom, right where I left them.

The big a-ha moment of the year so far: the lights we placed in all directions start to show the thousands of ways we can move. I didn’t even realize how many points of light were already there. Some of them I put down absent-mindedly a long time ago. They still give the faintest glow–enough for me to find my way back. I have a long way to go, but I get to pick up where I left off, which is sometimes all we need.

I hope to see some of you this year, even in those little frames that we pretend don’t exist while years speed by. If we don’t get a chance to sit and share a sip or a laugh, I hope we find another way.



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