Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.
King Whitney Jr.
A turning point. A point around which we decide to revolve and evolve, to focus our view and consolidate our being. Whether these points in our lives are made consciously or subconsciously, most people can, in 20/20 hindsight, pick them out with relative ease.
Probably the most significant to me, as it rises as the first thought, was how I became a teacher. It was a week day afternoon and one of my uni housemates reminded me that, to apply to do a PGCE (teacher training), I needed to submit something by the end of the week. I wandered over to my (then) boyfriend and relayed the information as I would clearly have to put some time aside to fill out my application and work out where I wanted to train.
At the news, he stopped what he was doing, looked at me square in the eye and asked if teaching was really where I wanted to head. As we had been together for over two years, and teaching had been a dream of mine since about the age of 8, I laughed and asked why he questioned me. The answer was simple: I was vulnerable and shy, quiet and unassuming. It meant I would be eaten alive and I would hate it. Not only that, but I would never succeed in getting a whole class to understand what I needed them to understand. It would devastate me.
The answer came from a place of meaning well but I still wonder what lay behind that answer in truth. But at those words, my spirit rose, I turned on my heels and the next day saw me filling out the form. I still appreciate those words every day because they stirred me out of any possible complacency or apathy about getting my career sorted. It made me define my own sense of success well before I walked into my first class. And it reminded me of my own sense of self.
For the next seven years, it fixed my gaze at one of the best jobs in the world, monumental memories and a job that held me together through some of the roughest personal years of my life.
The second turning point in my life was, funnily enough, not leaving teaching but the process that finds me writing this blog on the other side of the world to much of my life and connection to date. The turning point happened as I perched on the end of my colleague and friend’s desk. Katherine had just found a ‘dream job’ to apply for in the midst of our place of work sliding slowly into receivership. All of us on the floor were doing only what we needed to keep the ship afloat, and with any spare hours in the day, looking for the next move. In an energy-draining environment, her grin was broad. I was ridiculously excited for her and where she could be headed. As she made ready to apply, she asked me if I’d seen any dream jobs yet, which I hadn’t. London was beginning to slump and jobs for my skills were being cut rather than opened. And then, and I could still kiss her for this, she looked at me entirely puzzled. I was asked why on earth I was looking at London when I’d always wanted to travel. Back at my desk, my cousin was on Messenger all the way from Australia, checking in on me for the day. And thus the next path was set.
Lately it’s felt like I’m either directly over or heading imminently to the next turning point. I’ve learned so much here and met some soul connections that I wouldn’t be without, but it does feel like change is afoot. Partly because, as in the previous two, things are challenging at the minute, pushing me to listen to myself; partly because certain new interests of mine seem to be gathering critical mass. It’s all fun! So as I stand on the brink of my next revolution, may you have fun remembering yours.
The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique: a change of heart. – John Welwood