Tonight I did something that I haven’t done in a long time. I pulled out a box of memories.

I used to be more of a memory keeper. Boxes of notes, love letters, diaries, pictures, etc. I would regularly pull them out of the drawers they were in and look at them.

This wasn’t a box of memories from an “ex.” It was about a different kind of love. In college, I had an amazing job. Actually amazing hardly does it justice. I think I was the best version of myself in a lot of ways when I worked there. My heart was full all of the time. All day long. I loved what I did, I loved the people I worked with, I got paid to just love everyday.

From many people, I gained a  great deal of respect. ONE solitary manager, one big mouthed Sharlee, and all of a sudden I’m leaving that job on bad terms after more than four years.

It was a daycare job. I didn’t have an office; I had a cupboard. That cupboard was near and dear to me. It was stashed full of all the best things in my world at that time. When I left, my dear friend Sarah packed it all up for me and brought it to my house.

I put all of those treasures in a binder and boxed them up. In the 7 years since I’ve been gone I have maybe pulled that box of memories out 3 times. With those memories, are so many others that get left in the dark.

I avoid them. Perhaps it’s because I’m scared to face the reality that I am not the person in those pictures anymore. Perhaps I’m scared to miss that part of myself too much. Perhaps I’m scared to face the fact that I’m not as happy teaching as I was at that time in my life. Maybe I’m not ready to say “Well that’s what being a grown up is.” I think I’m searching for that kind of fullfillment and happiness in my work before I can really look at those pictures.

Perhaps the only area of discontent in my life is my work and that’s really hard for me to admit and address. I love kids. I love teaching. I can’t pinpoint what exactly it is, but sometimes (okay a lot of the time) I feel like my soul is suffocating. I want to feel the fiery passion I once felt in my work again. Sure I’m passionate, but lately it’s turned into an argumentative passion. Not a positive passion. How did that happen? Why?

I can’t make $8.00 anymore. I can’t work with that little amount of responsibility. Is that what it was? Or was it something else? Is this what it means to be grown up? I sure hope not. I think that a love and passion felt in work is possible for anyone. Especially someone as passionate as me.

I will say this: I walked away from that job with a huge portion of my current friends. I walked away from that job with 3 amazing friends. Real friends. Rare friends. And boy, does that make a difference. I know that could be part of it. I laughed a lot there. I learned a lot about myself…2 of those friends hated each other and I still loved both of them to my core. I still do. I  have friendships at work now, but not those kind.

Tonight I pulled out the book and relived that part of my life for a minute. I teared up a bit. I laughed a lot. I smiled. And I just let myself remember.

Maybe that’s what I need to do for a while. Just remember.

I think every so often, when I go down memory lane, I’ll take you with me. I hope you don’t mind.

As I was contemplating this…which is something I’m not ready to really come to a conclusion on one way or another, I found a friend of mine had posted on her blog (this blog is rarely updated so I was thrilled) and I read what she had to write. She just felt like posting this quote. That’s all. And this quote was quite possibly a step in the right direction for me. It’s beyond perfect for my thoughts tonight. Incredible.

“Decide in your heart what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.”–Col Chris Hadfield. (emphasis added)–This one’s going on the mirror!

What are your thoughts on loving what you do?