Obnoxious sunshiney optimist that I am, I forgot about this part.  Now that I’m telling people that, yes, I am voluntarily leaving my profession for an indeterminate amount of time, they want to know what I’m going to do.  They look much like children, eyes wide and mouth slightly agape, as if I’m telling them the Easter Bunny isn’t real.  They don’t ask why I’m leaving, only what will happen next.

Perhaps this is because I have been the village preschool teacher for the last 6 years of my life.  By “village” I mean that I have taught in 4 different programs, all within a half hour of each other.  I know everyone’s kids, and I can barely walk down the street without a child running up behind me to give me a hug.  I’m many parents’ first experience with a teacher and putting a child in school, and they remember that.  So, I’ve tried on a lot of different settings. But not trying them on in any lackadaisical way.  Really trying them on.  Throwing myself in headfirst.  When they didn’t work, I left gracefully, but learned what I would and would not stand for.  (That deserves its own post, note to self.)

This is how my community knows me and it must make them a little nervous that this seemingly, steady stable woman, looks like she’s taking a deep dive into unknown waters, maybe with sharks. Ah! Sharks!  In college, people called me “the yoga girl” because I was the one teaching yoga and talking about it all. the. time.  Now, I am a preschool teacher by day, yoga teacher by nights and weekends, multi-tasking queen of the universe! (Okay, I made that last part up, but come on!!  We all need a pick-me-up.)  But soon, I am to be neither of these things.  I imagine I will teach more yoga, but who knows what that looks like?

When I lead women’s circles I tell my participants to come as they are, to drop the veil and that being seen is not about what you do.  What you do does not directly inform who you are.  Let me say that again.

 What you do does not directly inform who you are.

You are not just a mess of skills and degrees and years of experience.  Be proud of those accomplishments.  I know I am.  But remember that they only make up a part of who you are.    You are multifaceted and you have a soul.  As a culture we need to remember this.

Sometimes I get caught up in the scary idea that my worth as a human being and member of my community is contingent upon what I do.   Am I only valuable when I have a socially acceptable 9-5 gig?  When I am an adult with a 401K and a salary?  When I am coming from my place of knowing, I know this is crap.   I know that I have a use and purpose that I am still uncovering, and that is terrifying and and exciting and then terrifying again.  This is okay.

Today, my dentist (and my eye doctor-whatever, I have a lot of appointments before my health insurance runs out!) asked me “What are you going to do now?”  He’s a nice guy.  His wife regularly attends my yoga classes.  He was genuinely wanting to know my plans.   So, how do you answer this question?

Here’s the best part: You answer it however you want, with honesty.  I used to try to rattle off a laundry list of THINGS, I’m not going to do that anymore. It takes courage to say “I’m not exactly sure, I have some other opportunities, but this is the best decision for me right now.”  And as if I had spoken an ancient incantation, or had hit the right password, he smiled, wished me well, and off I went.



Join the Conversation


  1. Im in exactly the same boat. Leaving school once I finish my bachelor’s. To do what? I have no clue. But just moving with my heart and doing whatever keeps my fire burning and the prana moving through me. Much love<3 Thank you so much for sharing.


  2. I have no doubt that what you attempt to do going forward, for an hour, a day, a week, or year, or years, may also come to an end because you have the insight to know you need to try and try, and do and do, again. You are correct, we are NOT what we do. I hope you as many life experiences as you can afford inside your heart, not your wallet!


  3. I definitely can relate to this post. I’ve been recovering from surgery and I’m still on the mend. I ask myself now what all the time. There are so many different possibilities and it is so challenging for me at least to narrow in on one or a couple.
    You said it so well that your worth shouldn’t be contingent on what your title is. I’ve been unemployed for almost 4 months now, so I’ve been faced with this ideology for some time. I’m sure as you’ve heard “I am not my body, not my thoughts, not my behavior” but you are that spark of life that is within us all. Thank you for asserting that it is ok to be unsure and uncertain. Life is never stable and peace is found when we find solace in the uncertain. Sending love, congrats on taking the leap into the unknown!


  4. Good for you for recognizing that your soul wasn’t aligned with its true purpose. It can be hard to face and acknowledge this, and often times people end up forcing it and continuing doing something they aren’t truly happy with, purely out of fear of change. So it’s quite brave, what you have accepted and followed through with. I left teaching as well, indefinitely, back in December, and for now am embracing the fact that I “don’t know” what lies ahead either..I have inklings and some dreams..but not set plans. And it can definitely feel unnerving at times. But the best advice I can offer is to not feel rushed into deciding what you should do about a lifelong career. I did that at first and recognized it just causes stress and may very well lead to making a hasty decision, which will end in dissatisfaction again. It’s okay to dabble. Everything will naturally align as it should, just have to be patient and explore different options in the meantime until something feels right! I wish you well on this new journey, Danielle 🙂 You have the best guide on your side— your heart!


  5. Sometimes, the road we take to reach our goal ends at an intersection of possibilities. Take them all….life is a journey! Happy Travels… 😉


  6. We support your new beginning,and hope you find what you are looking for !!We simply love you!!


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