I don’t know if it was an weight-training or karate-related injury, but during the past six months I starting developing some pretty serious shoulder and knee pain. I later found out it was related to arthritis trouble (Really? In my early 30’s!?!?!). There were days where the pain was bad enough to just want to skip work altogether. I couldn’t for the life of me, understand why I was having more health issues than ever during my short stint as an ALT. It’s really strange, because these were issues I wasn’t having at AEON, and if there were an any kind of issue it fixed itself relatively quickly.
Could it possibly be related to stress, or even a lack of sleep…I can’t say for sure. But I want to take a moment to go home and see a doctor about the arthritis pain and ask why I have days where I feel like an old man when I get out of bed in the morning. During the summer break I spent a lot of time just resting, eating better, stretching, trying to just get back to feeling good. I’m not at 100% but there’s a definite difference.
A PERSONAL PROMISE
Probably the biggest reason of the four that I decided to quit my job was because of a promise I made to myself. I told myself that if by age 32, if I wasn’t doing exactly what I wanted to do, no matter what the job was, if I didn’t feel like I was fulfilling my goals in life…I was going to quit and pursue what I truly wanted to do. My birthday was on July 22nd, I turned 32 years old. So, just prior to the summer vacation…I stopped working for Interac. Yes, it was scary but I kept my personal promise.
You may have seen it during some of lasts year’s posts, but despite being at an awesome school, I struggled with this internal dilemma from time to time. I DID enjoy teaching, but I started to have these days where would just go to school wondering “Is this it for me??” “Is this what my life is going to be??” Turning 30 in Japan made me realize that time is moving, I’m going to blink one day and be 40. Stopping my job was symbolic for me…it meant that sink or swim, succeed or fail, I’m choosing to do what I want to do with my life. I started to feel like I was getting into this cycle, going through the motions, not really tapping into what I’m capable of. It may sound a bit strong, but I just felt like a pawn, like I was just doing what I was told to do and just accepting what I was given. I started to lose interest in meetings, and started to withdraw from everything.
THE GRAIN OF SALT
Somebody reading this very post is on the verge of freaking out. My simple response to that is “Don’t.” Every teacher, every school, and every situation will be different. I have friends who have been working for Interac for many years and they love it!! I write shared these two articles with you because I want you to know and understand that you may happen into job that doesn’t suit you. If that’s the case, I’m a big believer in being honest with yourself about that.
Don’t allow one opinion (even mine) to color your thinking, don’t allow forum that bashes these companies to do that either. Had I relied on forums or one opinion, I would’ve never gone to teach at AEON. Some people rant about how they didn’t like eikaiwa work but that wasn’t my experience…I loved it. On the flip side though, Interac (despite being at an AMAZING school) wasn’t for me. But it doesn’t mean it’s not for you. Personal experience trumps all!
In the end I didn’t come to Japan just to do the same thing I was doing back home. I came here to do something bigger and that’s what I intend to do. If I fall flat on my ass…so be it. If I decide that I don’t want to live in Japan forever and I go back home some day, I don’t want to look back on my time here and say “Yep, all I did was teach.” I stopped my job to free up my time…and to challenge myself. If I don’t put my foot down now and say…”I want more out of my life,” when am I going to do it? A year from now? Five years? Ten years? Twenty? Why on earth should I wait that long?
I am challenging myself to create the ideal situation for me: a situation where I can employ my talents with no limits, earn an income that suits me better, and enjoy busting my butt everyday because I’m doing something that has “Donald Ash” written all over it.
Granted I haven’t found it yet, but I won’t stop until I do.