Croissants are the shit. One cold winter day, as my students slowly filtered in before school, L came into my room and whispered: “Would you like to share a croissant with me in my classroom?” If you are not a teacher, you may not grasp the utter fulfillment of spending a quiet moment with an adult friend during the school day. When she asked me, I instantly shifted gears and serenely and excitedly walked with her down the hall to her room. Although it was winter, the sun was out so we left the lights off–we didn’t want students interrupting our time. She toasted the croissants and we buttered them. We even cheers’d our halves and bit in. There’s something moving about biting into a warm flaky on the outside and soft, buttery on the inside croissant. Instantly we were in a cafe in New York City far away from the middle-schoolers who were chasing each other just outside our door. We were artists just having breakfast together. I don’t remember what we talked about, but this moment was one of the best moments of this school year. We spent ten minutes eating and talking–just us and our perfectly light croissant halves. It was the best surprise I’ve gotten at work.
I know I talk about sharing food with people a lot on this blog, but I must say, again, that there is nothing more intimate or thrilling than to eat with someone who gets the same feelings that you do when you place a perfect, simple, and/or complicated bite in your mouth.
Ever since that morning, I can’t resist getting a croissant when I go to our local bakery. The buttery warm flavor is comforting and dream inducing. It inspires me to write, to paint, to bake, to live.
I was reminded of the freedom of this moment today when I started doubting my decision to take a break from teaching. It is this freedom that I sought after during the past year of teaching. It is why I chose to take the break- to gain some freedom to be the other parts of me that don’t surface during the school year due to its demands on my time and energy. However, there is this voice in my head that gets loud every now and again saying that I can easily have a full time job with benefits and feel like I have direction and identity in my life. It is so scary to not be sure of what my next step is. Every time I tell people that I am taking a break from teaching, the instant response is…”so what do you plan to do then?” When I say, “I want to let life unfold and see what I find,” people give me a confused, unsatisfied look. Then, I start giving them details about taking cooking classes, working part-time, etc. Suddenly, every one can breathe again. It’s like they/I can’t be satisfied until there is a definite direction that I have planned to take. This is not how I want to live my life. I want to live it one day at a time and let things happen. I don’t mean that I want to leave in this extreme no plans ever kind of way, but it is valid to let go of direction for a year and allow the universe to lead me for once.
I could easily find a teaching job and make it through another first year. I do have it in me. But I wouldn’t have the freedom to explore and build a multidimensional purpose/identity for my life. For so long, I have defined myself as a teacher and have been very proud of it. It is time to define myself as Sonia the dreamer. This freeing moment in L’s classroom was just a glimpse of the many moments that I can look forward to next year as I explore different avenues and find a new route to fulfill my soul. Until then, I will warm my soul with the warmth of the croissant. 😉