My Journey: From Whirlwind to the Finish of Semester 2 of University, Round 2

Friday was the last day of my second semester.  University, Round 2 has been a wild and exciting journey.  I am so thankful that I've had the opportunity to, as cliché as it sounds, pursue my dreams.  Though I spent six years loving teaching high school English, I find myself excited, motivated, and dedicated to pursuing Latin, developing in my practice of yoga, and expanding my knowledge of all things Classical.

We've called this whole experience "the journey" since it began, so it is only fitting that I told you a little about how I got here.

I knew this was the right path for me from the first week that school began. 

On the first day, in the first class of the day--beginning Ancient Greek--my first professor talked about how learning a new language can carve out new paths in your brain--rewiring neurons and brain circuitry--and aid in things as remarkable as warding off dementia and Alzheimer's disease.  See "first day selfie" at right

Unfortunately, because we spend so much time together, my brain borrowed my husband's phraseology and I remember actually thinking to myself, "This is my kind of weirdo."  I was delighted that this professor was not only aware of this benefit, he was actively promoting and distributing this knowledge.  I knew then, having started many of our diet and lifestyle changes as well as my yoga training program as a preventative and proactive approach to disease and discomfort, that my choice in school, program, and class had been ideal for me.  I have come to respect this professor and enjoy the classes I've taken with him.

[Come to find out, as he's been with many other things this year, he was right!  Click here to read about this and other wonderful preventative measures you can take to remain healthy and mentally sharp.]

Very soon after that, I began to feel my hard work paying off.  I did and do feel accomplished and knowledgeable.  I am getting better everyday.  I've been presented with a number of interesting, challenging, and life-changing opportunities this year.  I earned grades my family and I are proud of; I presented a paper at my first professional conference (thanks for coming to support me, Danny and mom!); I was inducted into an esteemed Classics honor society; and I have made a number of lifelong connections with friends and networking acquaintances.

At the risk of sounding like I think my life is much more exciting than it is, in case you're interested, the last year and a half has gone like this:

January: Completed essays and application for entrance into a Classical studies program; had the opportunity to work with and mentor a fantastic student teacher assigned to my English 9 and 11 classroom; school board reiterated and reinforced plans to move forward with a 20% increase in classes taught and corresponding increase in students and workload; went gluten-free to improve our health, feel great, and accommodate Danny's allergy; also, began our newly established budget to begin saving and getting used to it for the upcoming year

February: Decided to scrap our previously planned wedding; obtained a marriage license; attended meetings regarding school board policy and briefly interviewed on local news regarding my strong feelings about the school board and board of supervisors' plans

March: Got married on a SNOW DAY!  (Read about it here.); my family hosted a fun and generous Greco-Roman-themed bridal shower (including games like, "Are you smarter than Julie Rose? Greek Mythology version"!  See photo to left of two of my thoughtful bridesmaids, Molly and Sheila, and the gorgeous [Roman] floral headpiece my aunt got me for the shower); researched superfoods and began making morning smoothies each day

April: Received my acceptance letter into my program; began juicing each day for increased vegetable intake; Danny, Olive, Chloe, and I went to care for my mom after her surgery; during my four week stay there, I fell in love with practicing yoga daily and decided to pursue it further

May: Returned home after a month away from Richmond; celebrated two friends' birthdays at the beach; hosted visiting family, while my husband helped my thoughtful and hardworking uncle (and fabulous aunt) build a deck

June: Celebrated with friends (hosted by my wonderful friend/ cousin and friend) for a fun-filled, beautiful tea party bridal shower See shower mingling before lunch in photo right; finished my sixth year of teaching high school English and resigned from my position; celebrated our marriage with friends and family with a generous family-hosted laid-back cookout See mom's Pinterest creation: fun watermelon fruit salad in photo below

July: Visited upstate New York--camped, relaxed, hiked, rafted...; operated as a recipe and Pinterest queen (to the point where my husband said, "You need a job!")

August: Began reading and studying Latin and preparing for school; started school!; began yoga teacher training program

September: Danny and I took a motorcycle license certification course together--it was so great!  (Read a little about that here.); began tutoring for the school year; the transition into school from a full time career was very challenging a few weeks in--we really struggled; began offering monthly yoga "classes" to my friends for relaxation, fellowship, and practice

October: Bought a motorcycle; changed banks--ditching our giant Bank of America for a smaller, more customer-centered approach to banking; sold Danny's gas-guzzling truck  See photo right

November: This month was somewhat uneventful, but I remember Danny and I struggled to balance our new responsibilities/ jobs/ time commitments/goals--life certainly was exciting!

December: Finished by first semester of University, Round 2 with excellent grades (WE SURVIVED! and didn't get divorced--somehow!); went to Buffalo for a quick pre-Christmas visit

January: Car accident--no one was hurt; began semester two of University: Round 2; decided, after months of part-time dedication, to stop eating meat; began writing this blog!  (Click here to see how I was inspired by my cousin.)

February: Started back up with yoga program after a long winter break; did a better job adjusting to this new schedule and class load than semester 1

March: Celebrated our one year anniversary of marriage; hosted visiting family; gave my first paper at a professional conference for Classics on The Carpe Diem Philosophy in Horace's Odes Illuminated by the Philosophy of Buddhism See photo right; began a major home renovation; gave my "final exam" yoga presentation for my program  See photo above and left for the "last day" picture of our teacher training

April: Completed the same major home renovation; inducted into a Classics honor society for my work in the previous semester

and that brings us to May: Successfully and sanely finished semester 2 of University, Round 2; finally, after 14 months, we took a honeymoon! See relaxed photo left  Read about our low-key honeymoon here; I finished my yoga teacher training program and became a certified 200 RYT!

All this is to say that overall, although quitting my job was unnerving terrifying, it was very nearly the best decision I've made as an adult.  I am thankful each day that I've had the opportunity to not only do what I've done, but do it successfully and with the guidance, support, and love of my family.  Latin and yoga may not be important to everyone, but the decision along with the two subjects themselves have brought renewed joy and peace to my life, helped me follow the deepest passions of my heart, and given me the focus and determination to become the person I want to be.

My hope is that this post (as well as this blog in general) helps you to know that you can also, to borrow again from my husband's linguistic repertoire, make moves on your own life.  You can be happy and successful in the undertakings that you undertake.  You can make mindfulness happen in your life each and every day.  You can help to inspire others.

My journey started one step at a time and so does yours.

What journey have you begun recently?  Which of your life choices excite and uplift you?

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