Episode 7: “Trust” is my new mantra

It is so hard to trust that I will find a way, find a future, find or create work, find or create satisfaction. I think I am almost ready to let go of the title “Associate Professor”, and trust that I am not that title; I am all of my experience, and knowledge, and character. No title captures that. I am disappointed in myself for how much the institution at which I have worked has gotten a hold of my mind and sense of self-esteem. Its power is evident in the fear I feel leaving. But it is not the thing with the value. The value of the institution is in its teachers, and the teachers’ wisdom and work are their own. I tell myself: My value is within me; it is not something the institution granted me.

I might be ready to give up that old title, but I don’t want to give up philosophy! (Damn it!!) I feel I am mourning a death or the loss of a great love, and I am cycling through the stages of grief, anger, and bargaining. I still love philosophy. I still have ideas I want to pursue and write about. And I have put so much into it. I love studying philosophy with other like-minded people. And I love teaching students who want to learn. But those students have been so few and far between. Where can I find a better educational experience? My mind is spinning. I don’t know what to do.

In dark hours I have found myself thinking: I’m on leave. I could go back. I don’t know what I am going to do to make a living. I don’t know how to find work where I can use my skills, do something at least mildly enjoyable, and feel valued. I could go back.

Some brave place inside me says: No. Just because you haven’t figured out the “right” thing yet, doesn’t mean you should go back to the thing you know is wrong. You can do better. Trust. You can create better. Trust. You must be devoted now to your health and future happiness. Trust.