Monday, January 10, 2011

The Phone Call that Almost Changed My Life

I almost had a heart attack today. Someone called and asked if I’d be interested in teaching at the Forest Middle School. Sadly, the job had a two-hour commute, so I had to say no. But this threw my whole life upside down. Let me explain why:
When I first moved to Mississippi, I planned to get a job as a high school English teacher. I was told that it would be easy, but no one in my area was hiring. I ended up working as a temp in an office, which is a good job that gives me time to write but pays next to nothing. I thought once my allotted time ran out as a temp, my boss would either fire me or hire me on as a full-time employee. It’s been over four months, and she’s done neither of those things. Any day now, she could hire me and solve all my money problems with the whisk of her hand, or she could fire me and throw my life into shambles.
As most of you know, I’m going through the query process. This means that any day now I could get an agent to represent my book, or I could wait for years before I get representation, or I could never get represented at all.
I had completely given up on being a teacher. Now I know that my resume is still floating around and people are still interested. I could get a phone call at any moment and get offered my dream job. I didn’t even know that was possible until today.
I’ve never been in a place of so much possibility and so much unknown. My paths range from unemployed to a poor temp, a well-off office employee, a high school teacher, or a published novelist. My future could take any one of these paths at any time, and it’s completely outside of my control.
I’m strangely okay with this uncertainty. I’m a recovering control freak, so I always plan my life years in advance and get upset when things don't play out as I expected. This turbulent experience is forcing me to sit down and let things be. I’m scared that I might lose my job, that the job I have now won’t pay the bills, that being a teacher might turn out to be a living hell, and that I might never get published. But a person can only freak out so much before learning to wait.
I’m tired of being a nervous wreck because I don’t know what’s going to happen to me tomorrow, or a month from now, or a year from now. Since I can't do anything for the future, I have to shift my attention to the present. I know how to handle my life today (which I feel is an accomplishment), and whatever happens tomorrow, I'm sure I'll learn how to handle that too. 

Teralyn Rose Pilgrim Teralyn Pilgrim


  1. A+ for attitude! I'm right at the same spot, on the brink. Terrifying, humbling, and exciting all at the same time. :)

  2. I just got really depressed about the Arizona shootings. I got a feeling that I was doing something wrong with my life. But then I came to read your new post and it gave me hope. You're right, what will happen, will happen and all we can do is work on the present.
    Thanks :)


  3. Karen, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who's in a weird place right now! Julia, I'm glad I was able to help. When awful things like shootings happen, it's easy to lose faith in humanity, but I think the good in this world greatly outweighs the bad. Bad people just draw more attention to themselves.

  4. You've got the right attitude for sure!


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