Tuesday, May 14, 2013

List of Happiness

Today's Blog Every Day in May topic was to think of things that make you happy. Clearly, I have failed at keeping up with this challenge, but after yesterday's announcement, it only seemed fitting that I write about things that make me happy.

1. Eating and drinking really good food and drink outside on a beautiful day.

2. Cuddling with Finn and Lilah (even if it's more like cuddling with Finn and getting squashed by Lilah).

3. Laughing so hard that I start to cry.

4. Afternoon coffee shop dates with myself.

5. Spending a perfectly good evening at a baseball game. I could never get tired of this.

6. Live music and record shops.

7. Road trips and traveling adventures.

8. The ocean.

9. Freshly baked French bread. The smell always takes me back to my childhood.

10. Getting a letter or card in the mail.

What things make you happy?

Monday, May 13, 2013

That Blog Post That I've Been Waiting to Write

Ever have one of those blog posts that you dream of writing, but you have to wait until that right moment? Well, people, that post is happening today. And what is that post about? It's about how I quit my day job. Yup! You read that right. After over a year of contemplating, I finally did it!!! Woot woot!!

I have always known that I wasn't meant to be a teacher my entire life, that I'd eventually want to move on to something new. Over the past two years I started really feeling burned out and found myself much happier with my handmade business. Then there was that pivotal moment when Andrew and I went out to dinner on a Friday night in January and we just sat there talking about school and how much I hated it and how stressed out I was about it and how stifled I was feeling. We were also talking about how happy I was when I was working with my hands in my card business, how much creative energy I was able to use in my designs. Ultimately, Andrew said, "You remember when we were in college and we were dirt poor? Those were some of the most fun moments of our lives. Wouldn't you rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy?"

It was a moment of reality-- one that made me understand just how unhappy I was with my teaching job, and a moment in which I realized Andrew's happiness was at risk because of my own unhappiness.

I decided in that instant that I would be moving on. It had been in the works for a while. I had planned on coming back for one more year of teaching, long enough for me to totally pay off my student loans to provide a little more financial stability. I couldn't imagine having to give up another year of my happiness just to pay off some loans that will be manageable anyway.

If you're unhappy, you are the only one that can change that. I was unhappy, so I decided to change that.
via NeueGraphic
I am turning 30 in September. I am not afraid of getting older. I am afraid of not living my life to its fullest potential. There are so many things that I want to do in my lifetime that I know change needs to happen now.

Before my Spring Break, I spoke with both my Principal and Assistant Principal and let them know I would be leaving at the end of the year. A couple weeks ago, I handed in my letter of resignation, and this past week I told my students that I would be leaving. While a huge weight had lifted off of me, I also had a very rough week dealing with the emotions of breaking the news to my students. Some of them wanted to know why I was leaving them, which was the toughest part of all. One of my closest students sat in the classroom with tears in his eyes. One of my basketball players made me promise her I would still come to see her games. They did not make it easy for me and I hadn't expected they would.

After sharing the news with one of my former students, I felt better. He said, "Ms. Shenk, all I want is for you to be happy. If you're happy, then I'm happy. Life isn't fun if you're not happy." Here I had spent a good three years dishing out advice to this kid and here he was dishing it back at me. Being happy. That's what life is about.

So where does life lead me next? My card business! At the end of the school year, I'll be taking a quick break and then return to work being self-employed working from home. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of you to thank because I know my business wouldn't be what it is today without all of you! Aside from working full time with my business, there will also be a few other crazy things to look forward to in my future! Let's just say that 30 is going to be an amazing year!

And to celebrate and thank YOU ALL, for the next few days you can use the code WOOTWOOT25 to get 25% off everything in my shop and 25% off all blog ads. I'm looking forward starting this new adventure in the coming year!

P.S. 24 school days til I peace out from Baltimore City Schools! And yes, I've been counting down. You know that's how I do! ;)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Things That Make Me Uncomfortable

I skipped out on yesterday's Blog Every Day in May post because the topic was to write about something you are an expert on. Not really sure where my expertise lies, so I decided to stay away from that one. I don't really consider myself an expert at anything. I'm always learning new things and I just couldn't put a finger on anything in particular.

Today's post is much more simple for me. Writing about things that make me uncomfortable? Easy!

Conflict. I don't do well with it. I get really uncomfortable with people that like to create it or come to me with their conflicts that I am not involved in. It always makes me feel like I'm stuck in the middle which makes we feel weird and icky.

Overly aggressive personalities. Example: a lady at the dog park this past weekend insisted that a family of four leave because their children were underage for the park. Yes, she was in the right and I don't deny that. However, the way she went about it was in such an aggressive tone that it made me totally freak out about the situation. She was super bossy all out of nowhere and used the phrase, "No, you see I INSIST that you leave this park at once." Eeeeeeek. Uncomfortable. Also, the types of people that are so aggressive that you feel you can't do anything, but nod in agreement even if you don't agree-- big time uncomfortable.

Religion. I am not really religious and I don't write about my beliefs on my blog because I know if I were to do so, I would probably be attacked by others for them. On the flip side, it makes me really uncomfortable when people talk about religion as though it is truth and that if you're not believing the same thing, well then, you must be a horrible person. It makes me uncomfortable when people suddenly bust out things about Jesus and God in a way that assumes all must agree with them. It all feels a bit preachy and makes me feel like I am not in an arena where I truly have freedom of religion. The jargon freaks me out the most. I know I once told Andrew, why do you have to call your church trips "mission trips"? Just call them trips where you're helping people out! Calling it a "mission trip" makes it sounds like you're trying to convert people or something. Uggggh. Suuuuuper uncomfortable.

Talking to another introvert. All you introverts out there, have you ever been stuck in a situation where it's just you and another introvert? Eeeeeeeeek! Worst ever! So uncomfortable because neither of you want to start the conversation first or know what to say. Big time uncomfortable! This is the same reason why I often freak out if Andrew does not come with me to social situations. I need an extrovert to help me out!

Dresses. In a day when it seems dresses are the best thing ever (seriously, these days as soon as the weather is nice I'm the only girl not wearing one) I still feel extremely uncomfortable wearing one. I'm always worried that something is going to fly up or fall down. Skirts I can do. Dresses? I own them, but then don't wear them enough to justify having purchased them. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I'm so tall that finding a short length dress that covers my butt is impossible and finding a maxi dress that covers my ankles is just as impossible. Who knows. They just make me uncomfortable.

What makes you uncomfortable?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Story of My Life in 250 Words

This is probably supposed to be difficult. You know, writing about your life in 250 words. Mine's not so bad. My life hasn't been grand or fabulous. It hasn't always been easy-going either. But it has been a pretty awesome life.

I grew up in small-town Goshen, Indiana with my mom, dad, and sister. After years of the same school system, with the same people, and a city I didn't really like, I decided to apply to Syracuse University. If I got in, I'd attend. If I didn't, I'd work for a year and reassess. I got in.

I spent four years attending the university and one year living and working in a coffee shop in Syracuse. Four plus one is five. That last year? Andrew's fifth year of architecture school. I had met Andrew during our sophomore year. After he graduated, we found jobs. I entered a teacher residency program in Baltimore City-- what else was I supposed to do with an English major? I became a teacher and he got a job at a firm downtown. Two years later we got Lilah, our chocolate lab. Three years later, we bought a house. Three and half years later we got engaged. Four years later we got Finn, our orange tabby. And six years later? Well, that story will be soon to come....

And it will be amazing. I promise.

I know you all love teasers.

Now, was that my life story in 250 words? Yes, I think so. ;)

P.S. In case you wanted to know, this was Day 1 of Jenni's Blog Every Day in May.
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