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  1. Karen Anderson says:

    When I retired from teaching at a Title One school, I was well aware that another year or two of service would have greatly increased my monthly retirement for life. However, I also realized, that another year or two of service would have greatly decreased my quality of life, including my health. So, I quit, adjusted my lifestyle, and have been able to breathe in a way I wouldn’t had I continued.

  2. anonymous person says:

    When I was little, I took gymnastics classes. At one point, the teacher changed, and on the first day with that new teacher, I (apparently) did something not exactly how she wanted. Perhaps I didn’t understand what she wanted in the first place, but I did my best, and she yelled at me to stop goofing around. I never understood why she was mad at me, but I ended up being disciplined. The punishment was explained, that I had to sit in one spot during free play time, and, if I did more wrong, the time of sitting out would increase on a five strikes thing, so that if the teacher got to five, I’d lose all the free play time. So I sat in the punishment spot, and tried to make the best of things while I waited. My feet were in the foam cube pit, so I started throwing the cubes around with my feet. The teacher apparently didn’t like this. She yelled at me that I was on strike 2, but did not tell me what I had done to deserve that, so I was confused. I did it again because I didn’t know why she extended my punishment. She yelled that I was on strike four. I still didn’t know what I had done to deserve that. At this point, some of my friends came over and started playing near me, to cheer me up. The teacher screamed that I was on strike 5, and would get no play that day. I thought it utterly unreasonable that she was so angry with me in the first place (she still had not told me what I had done), and that she had skipped four in her count. I quit gymnastics immediately after class had ended that day.

    Later, in college, I was having a hard time. I was surrounded by some of the most toxic people I’ve ever met, miserable because they were attacking basically all of my beliefs every single day, almost constantly. The head of my major’s department was textbook emotionally abusive to me. Many of the students smoked. (I’m very sensitive to that, and had asked them to refrain from smoking during the breaks because it makes me feel sick. They smoked anyway.) If I tried to defend my views, I was treated as though I was in the wrong. These people expected unreasonable things from me, and would act as though I was worthless or even evil if I didn’t meet their expectations exactly. I had anxiety attacks almost daily, sometimes multiple in one day. I had chest pains that turned out to be anxiety. One day, I just asked myself, “If I didn’t take this kind of abuse when I was five, why on earth am I taking it now?” The day I decided to leave there I felt a tremendous wave of relief.

  3. Esther Robert says:

    Dear Cheri,

    Thank you so much for the tips. I just signed employment forms yesterday. I have not started the job yet, however I feel equipped. Thank you for blessing me with your testimony.

  4. Alicia Crew says:

    Hi Mrs. Gregory,

    I really liked this article, and I wanted to share with you an experience I had this year. I started this, my third semester of college, very well. I picked classes about subjects I wanted to explore. I was hoping to find my passion. And in many ways I have (apologies for starting this sentence with an ‘and’). However, just last week I dropped one of my classes. The work was draining my energy. I wasn’t motivated, and in the end, it became a black hole of anxiety in my life. Although I will have a W (withdrawal) on my transcript, I don’t care much. I now have my life back. Part of the reason this was even possible is because I allowed myself to say no to the compulsion, “you started it-now you have to finish it.” I said no to the voice in my head saying, “oh, just suffer it out, you’ll only be miserable for one semester, then you can try something new.” Instead, I’ve taken ownership of my life and decided to do what I can to make the present, not the distant future, the life I want to live. I’m very grateful for my experience. I not only learned what I didn’t like, I learned how much influence I gave my perfectionistic expectation, and how I had ever the same influence to take that power back.

  5. Anita Fessler says:

    How awesome! I too have found that courage to quit the full time classroom and move into the full time writing arena. While it’s hard “out here”, it was getting too hard “in there.” I totally identified with everything you said in your post–I loved reading “my life” on your page! Keep writing, my dear!