Behind the Kwote: Your Journey

journey_zero_explanationThis kwote popped into my mind after I’d announced to several people that I was leaving my tenure-track position at Florida State University. There was no visible job prospect in April 2015, but my intuition had spoken and I was listening. Even though my instinct was clear to me it wasn’t to others.

My cousin’s response, “Are you crazy?” Mind you he’d asked me the same question when I announced the commute.

My best friend at the time replied, “What??? Now I can’t say my best friend is a professor at FSU!”

My daughter’s reaction, “Are we gonna be poor?”

My aunt’s email, “So what if you’re the only Black person? Since when did that become a big deal?”

My friend and university’s alum, “What? Why?”

This is just a small number of people and their opinions. But in my mind, there were far too many and I didn’t feel as if I owed anyone an explanation for decisions about my life. With the exception of my daughter, none of these people would be affected by how I generated income. This kwote helped me to see the truth.

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Oftentimes, this time of year prompts reflection and a sense of renewal. But sometimes we neglect to follow our hearts and inner voice because we’re worried about what family and friends will think about our new paths. Let me tell you something. They’ll be just fine! Now, let me ask this question. If you don’t follow your intuition, will you?

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97 thoughts on “Behind the Kwote: Your Journey

  1. Gotta march to the beat of your drum because you’re the best one to know how its rhythm will feel on the inside. So I’m glad you were able to do just that despite the naysayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to admit I giggled when I saw your daughter’s response. That’s something my kids would have said when they were younger (actually they may have said it and I just can’t recall). Very wise words!

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      1. Yes indeed!! I remember one time my car was out of commission and I told my then boys that we’d be walking and/or taking the bus for a minute. You would have thought it was the end of the world by the way they responded. I did get a good laugh though.

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  3. Hello, Kathy! A pleasure to meet you! Thank you for stopping by my blog. Naturally, when I see new visitors to my blog, I reciprocate and visit theirs. Another way to meet new people, make new friends, read and learn more of what we are all sharing with one another. This is the first post of yours that I’ve read, and I’ve enjoyed it ALONG with all the various comments from your friends and keen followers. I’m excited to read more of your posts! 🙂 As a final note, I noticed your conversation with a friend regarding The Alchemist and The Four Agreements – both of which I have read and found helpful and enlightening. It’s always great to see others’ perspectives on such things. 🙂 The lessons within those two books provide support when one is faced with a decision – like giving up a job, as in your case. In those times when we don’t always feel sure about our decisions. Intuitively, it feels the right decision. And then our egos get into the mix and start adding in the “are you sure’s?” ❤

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    1. Thanks for the compliments, reads and comment Michaela! (I’m assuming your name is Michaela lol) Yes, I completely agree that if we’re not sure, then we let the ego drive the bus and that can allow all kinds of things to occur, such as really taking stock into what someone else has to say about OUR lives. I’m so glad you’ve decided to follow me here. It sounds as if we are singing some similar tunes!

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      1. You’re welcome, Kathy! And you guessed correctly! Haha! I had to do a bit more sleuthing in your case, because your title gives initials. I gleaned it from one of your keen readers’ comments. 🙂 True….that slippery slope of giving away our own personal power to others. I like the phrase….”what others think of me is none of my business.” 🙂 Thanks! And yes, I think so, too. How are you with harmony? Hahaha! As I was reading your words and the comments, I was feeling a strong kinship happening. Kindred spirits always seem to find each another. ❤

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    1. You’re the third person to mention that. It must’ve been a wave of “follow your intuition” going on lol. I still miss my $$$ girl. Just had a discussion (e.g., mini-meltdown) with my hubby cause I was like, I have to figure something else out. How are you doing since you left?

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      1. I never saw this until now !!!! UGGGGGGGHHH!!!!
        WP be trippin’
        I know exactly how you feel ’bout that income. I miss it but I am really trying to stay positive and broaden my consciousness so that I can attract the perfect job/career path for me.
        I don’t want to keep bringing the wrong things into my life and going through the same thing over and over and over! You feel me?

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      2. I don’t what’s going on with the comments either! Sometimes they show only on my page and not in email, sometimes I can only see it in the email.

        Anywho, yes. That’s where I am right now. I need to attract the perfect situation for me. Right now this is the perfect situation in terms of my overall goals, so I’m working on the patience part over here tapping my feet and wishing things would move forward lol

        Like

    2. Good for you Lady G! I hope your intuition was correct though! Ain’t it like Lady M, to pour a little bit of doubt on the situation?? Joking aside, if you hate something, then the best thing to do is to move on. You don’t need intuition for that: hurting yourself is a sure way to harm yourself Best to be happy and poor, rather than rich and sick huh?

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      1. Absolutely Lady M!
        But I’d take it one step further by saying that there is just no way that rich and sick can go in the same sentence. They are incongruent; not aligned at all.
        Chile ain’t nuthin’rich ’bout being sick!
        LOL!!!
        Mystic Marie is in the house and I love it!
        YAAASSSSS!

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      2. May I respectfully beg to differ your ladyship?? :))) You can have ill-health and be rolling in it. I’m not speaking from experience, mind you, but I’m sure there are people out there in this situation.
        I’d like to think that if you have shed loads of money, that you’d be laughing all the way to the bank, but you do hear of many who have money are very unhappy. And conversely you get people who don’t have two pennies to rub together, but they are contented.
        *wink, wink* I know what you mean though Lady G – I’m just in the mood for a lively discussion.
        Mystic Marie is in the house and waiting for your take on this m’lady! YAAASSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

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      3. LOL…well here goes…..
        You cannot be ‘rolling’ in anything with ill-health.
        For example, I’ve known people on ventilators that would give all of their ‘riches’ for functioning lungs to breathe independent of a machine!
        That’s just the start.
        And, as you have said, I’ve known people who are ‘broke’ but as happy as clams–but they aren’t who I am talking about.
        I’m talking about the so called ‘rich’ who are sick from physical, emotional, spiritual, mental illness–sometimes all at the same time; there is no richness in that 🙂
        YAAAASSSSS or should I say NOOOOOOO!
        LOL!!

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      4. True dat Lady G. Have you noticed when I think I might be losing an argument I bring out the Jamaican to confuse you. heh hay (that’s how Jamaicans laugh!!
        Yes, I get what you’re saying BUT look at your folks and my folks in old times, they didn’t have much in the way of money/wealth/grandeur, but family life was tight and they had some great family connections and everyone looked out for one another and respect was respected. They may not have much, but they were happy.
        And then there are those who have mansions, fancy cars, pots of money, but they don’t have good family connections. They don’t have that simplicity of life which makes them appreciate the simple things in life.
        Personally I think that having enough money and loving family/friends is better than being either poor or rich. You can’t be happy if you’re struggling to make ends meet, but equally if you value money above all, you are not likely to be content. You may be able to buy everything you need/want, but if your mind is not contented, then all the money in the world won’t make you so.
        Totally get what you’re saying about the so called ‘rich’. Great point!
        I don’t mind arguing with you, it’s Darryl who scares me – still haven’t got over that yet!!! hahahahaha (Sorry Darry if you’re reading this) :))))

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      5. LOL!!!
        You should read Ron’s post on my blog today (The Flowering Vine) it speaks to exactly what you’re talking about regarding our peoples history.
        Lady M, I totally agree with you actually. There is no real way to be fully contented unless your basic needs are being met–Ah….but then you have to define what ‘basic needs’ are and I am not about to get into that quagmire.
        I will, however, use good ol’ Abe Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ and say that most people ‘need’ safe, reliable shelter, enough to eat and drink, and clothes to wear. There are people, as you said, who are content with that and there are others, myself included, who want something more–nothing wrong with that.
        I think it all rests upon how you define ‘rich.’ Etymologically speaking, the word was associated with ‘power’
        I’ll grant you that nowadays it means ‘having material wealth.’
        But I still take it back to it’s old association 🙂
        And with sickness, power is scare as hen’s teeth! LOL!!! (That’s what my folks used to say.)
        As always, it’s a pleasure to chat with such an wonderful person 🙂 🙏🏾
        YAASSSSS!
        BTW, Heh hay!!! I love that 🙂
        Girl…Lady G can’t be debating all day 😂

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      6. I’m going to check out Ron’s post! Maybe not just now, but soon! Every ting you say is true Lady G. Me an you a fren, so ‘ow me ago disagree wid me gud fren eh? Haven’t done no patois for a while and don’t want you to get rusty, girrrllll. LOL
        Not connected, but I was speaking Australian today with Mek, so what with American with you, Australian with Mek, nonsense with Tareau (JOKING!!!!!), I am feeling very cosmopolitan.
        Yes, I am one of those like you Lady G who wouldn’t mind having a little more money – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem with that might be that you get a little more, then you want a little more and then you begin to feel dissatisfied because you become dissatisfied that it is never enough. I’m pretty sure that’s not us though!
        I know what you meant Lady G – hen’s teeth an’ all.:)
        Always a pleasure to chat with you Sweetie – I could grab your little cheeks and squeeze ’em – I like you that much!:) Heh hay!!!
        When you say heh hay, you got to lean back, put you feet up in the air (halfway) and slap your knees – that’s a good old authentic Jamaiican ‘heh hay’ LOL
        I know you got lots to do, so see you soon honey!:))

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      7. ROTFLMAO!!!!! Love ya!!! I can just imagine you following my instructions: *thinks* sit down, lean back, yea, yea I got it, then legs up in the air, throw head back, yea, yea, then slap knees and then heh hayyyyy!!!
        Speak again soon, Lady G! 🙂

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      8. lol – Don’t let Darryl scare you Marie! I do agree with the point of your post. It’s about balance, as with anything in life. No one wants to be struggling, but I’m not sure people actually want to be rich with low spirits, energy, time, and zero family connections. A nice living wage that allows you to enjoy things every now and then is best, I think.

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      9. Have you ever had an argument, no, sorry ‘discussion’ with Darryl, Kathy? That young man is formidable! I was here in the UK. thousands of miles away, quivering in my boots. LOL
        Yes that’s what I meant Kathy about balance. You’ve just said it better! 🙂

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      10. Dear Kathy thank you!!! I thought it was me!! Yes Darryl is a lovely young man but he does get fired up when he warms to a subject. And on top of that he’s so knowledgeable.
        I did come out of our discussion on ‘black hair’ and ‘white supremacy’ ‘bruised and battered’ but I learned a few things. Fair exchange? The jury is still out on that …LOL

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      1. I can’t say I don’t feel the occasional anxiety but what has helped me a lot is turning towards spirituality and realising that the anxiety is just a habit of my mind. Even if I am happy being where I am right now, it is the nature of my mind to always try to leap into the future and worry about ‘what ifs’. I suppose I’m truly tired of running after my mind’s latest fancies- it’s kept me doing that for so many years and everytime the end result is only temporary happiness at best. I guess once you realise that the mind keeps you caught in such a cycle, that understanding helps you detach from the anxiety.

        I do think it’s important though to figure out some kind of plan for how you’ll earn a livelihood etc but that’s about all. The rest of the worry is needless self-inflicted misery.

        I’ve been trying to figure out what I really want to do going forward and I think the best way is to start with what you like and keep doing that until things become clearer.
        Some words I find encouraging: “if you don’t know what to do, then just involve yourself fully in whatever you are doing at the moment. Then life will choose and that is never wrong” (Sadhguru JV)

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    1. Thanks so much! It is hard to deny the soul’s conversation lol Having faith and peace are the two things I’m currently working on. It’s funny that you should mention those two words because they came up in a recent angel card reading…

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    1. Brave seems like such a strong word, but I’ll take it lol Thanks for that. Following intuition is very hard, a lot harder than I’ve let on here, since this decision was about a year and a half ago. There are ups and downs with thinking how I could’ve departed a little better, but hey. I actually am a professor at a community college now, but I still do all of the “academia” stuff, like publish and serve on national committees.

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  4. You almost need to reblog this as we enter the new year lol. This is the time where everyone’s mind is contemplating life changes, myself included. It couldn’t have been easy for you to make that career move – especially with your family and friends reminding you why you shouldn’t. How do you feel about life and about yourself now that you’ve taken that step?

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    1. Great idea Josie! In fact, maybe I’ll reblog a few for the first four Mondays in January. It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I still get in a funk about it. To be honest, the only thing I’m missing right now is my salary. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get over actually making less money than I FEEL I should be making. Other than that, I’m at peace.

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      1. You make a good point Kathy. Sometimes it’s hard to choose between making good money and a bad highly paid job. I left a better paid job for one with less pay, and I didn’t regret it in the end, because I managed to make it back. But the lower paid salary did make me miss what I left behind ,,,for a while.

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    1. Thanks so much Cliff! I will say that it is not the easiest thing to do. In fact, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do because it requires what many preach about…faith. I do hope that you’ll be able to follow what your intuition and not society’s teachings 😉

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  5. Thanks for the wisdom here. I appreciate the way you embed it in your life experience.

    I am finding out that it is important to follow your heart in these situations. I am struggling with balancing the need for more and the need for well-being as well. I wish it wasn’t such a compromise. It is encouraging and refreshing to see your perspective on it.

    In the future, do you think we could have a short discussion about your experience at FSU? I am asking because I am considering the PhD as I want to teach, but I am wondering if the “climate” is safe for someone like me (you know what I mean). I know you’ll give it to me straight.

    Great piece as always Dr. Garland! 😀

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    1. You’re welcome and Thanks to you for always reading and commenting.

      My public WP answer is based on something we’ve talked about and something I had to come to grips with. I want you to also know that my answer is based on graduating from three predominantly white, research institutions for undergrad and graduate school (Western Michigan University, Jacksonville University and the University of Florida) and working at three predominantly white institutions.

      With that said, I’ve learned that MANY institutions simply perpetuate the status quo, which in America is institutionalized racism. I’m not saying it’s because they want to, but rather, it is in inherent in the make-up. Now, with that said, my answer is that I’m not sure that any predominantly white, research institution (which is probably where you’ll attend for a doctorate) is safe for someone like you. These places are not and were never intended for us to attend, much less achieve. Be sure that you feel comfortable being the ONLY one everywhere you go. It sounds as if it’s not a big deal, but sometimes that can weigh on one’s psyche.

      Before you choose a school, please research carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have funding for someone like you, and don’t be ashamed (not that I think you would be lol) of asking them directly. “Do you have funding for African American men?” Research the best school for what you want to do and try to be as clear as possible about what your goals are for getting a PhD. Ask the school if they have a support system for the process beyond coursework. That’s important. Ask them if they would suggest any African American mentors, not necessarily at the institution, but maybe in the field.

      I’m going to ask a current African American FSU doc student if he’d mind contacting you. I’ll email you if he says yes.

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      1. Good morning and thank you Dr. Garland! This is very helpful!

        My two years in the MA program at Northeastern University were awful. I was one of the only minorities in the program. This space taxed my psyche beyond belief. . . and I was a theoretical outcast and social pariah. The only black professor on staff there isn’t even tenured, he has one of those “lecturer” positions. He is the BEST professor in the department, but since he doesn’t have the high status of tenure track, students cannot work with him. So when I saw you were leaving your position, it’s like… damn! So much shady stuff. A few black woman professors applied for tenure a couple years ago at this school and got denied. I am scared that I will work so hard on a PhD and not land a track position or not get tenure (publish or perish culture). I question if it’s worth it. Sigh.

        Thank you for the advice about funding and guidance. Those are important, as I really need a nurturing environment.

        Here is my email address. Thanks for reaching out to that student! Feel free to message me anytime: darryl.walker.jr@gmail.com

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      2. Yes! All of this. Just one point of clarification…I left before I even went up for tenure and I’m published and still have current work, but the culture was just ugh in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong there are places that want true diversity but you have to be pretty discerning about looking for them. And also that’s one reason why I suggest an HBCU for your career.

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      3. Oh but of course! You’d have no problem getting it. I meant there is shady stuff in general around black folks in the academy, and seeing other black folks running into problems is always disheartening (but good to hear about). I honestly cannot point to any black academics that are not dealing with this stuff. It frightens me. For instance, my aunt is a professor (you said you are in media. Her name is Claire Andrade, maybe you’ve heard of her?). Well, they denied her tenure. She had to sue them to get it. I see this all over. Sorry if it made it seem as if I was saying you couldn’t have gotten tenure (not that I could!) I was speaking more generally about black folks running into problems of ALL sorts.

        I have been wondering about just teaching with an MA at a community college for a while. Even if its just one class on a weekend. So many angles to take into account. I have never considered an HBCU, so thank you for the recommendation!

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  6. It’s difficult going ahead in a new direction when so many others worry about your decision – that takes courage and steadfastness. Inspiring post, Kathy and love the quote ‘no explanation required’. I’ll keep that in mind.

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    1. I find that a lot of things that family and friends do are masked with care/love, but really I’ve come to see it as a way to keep you in line with following the status quo. Now that I don’t provide explanations, I’m a lot more at peace with myself and them 😉

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  7. This post is super powerful. I mean honestly how many of us actually follow our intuition when it comes to our life’s. You would think a ton. Unfortunately a lot of people love the “comfort” of their knowing. You are a true inspiration. This is really amazing. “Its your journey; there’s no explanation required.” 🙂

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    1. It’s hard you know? It’s hard because following what you think you should be doing really is an act of rebellion lol It’s sounds crazy in a way, but that’s what it is. You’re doing something that most are not. I think you’re right about the comfort factor. I mean who really wants to be UNcomfortable on purpose? Thanks for your kinds words. I appreciate them. Glad you like the kwote 😉

      Like

  8. I sooo love this! I struggling to rebuild my journey mentally. Sometimes your new found journey are forced upon you…which happens to be my case. I’m usually one that have resiliency… without a doubt. But this new found journey has taken a toll on me. It’s got me out of my comfort zone. This has created a daily, struggle and battle within. People.. lol ..people bless their heart…they flatter me with their suggestions on what road they “think” you should take. But it MY freaking journey! Lol! I’ll be looking to purchase that book Alchemist very soon!

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    1. I’m happy to know that you love this kwote and story! So changes that are forced are a bit harder to accept, I think. I was just commenting to myyalia above that no one really wants to be UNcomfortable on purpose, and I’m pretty sure we don’t invite that feeling out of the blue, either lol. All I can say is breathe in and out and try to listen to yourself. I truly believe that we always know the answer, even if it’s not the one we want to hear. Aaand…YES! IT’S YOUR FREAKING JOURNEY!

      I do think you’ll enjoy The Alchemist as it shows exactly what we’re saying here.

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  9. I’ve once given up on hopes and dreams and it took a child, mines, to push me every day. I Reading your blog and book help me from slipping back to that awful place.
    You do what works for you, Kathy, and I’m happy for you. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Awww Pam! I so appreciate you telling me that and I’m glad I can help, even when I don’t know it! I hope you never give up on anything anymore. Glad you have your precious little girl to keep you motivated 😉

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  10. I would leave my job in a second if I didn’t have to worry about money and health benefits. My husband has been having job issues for so long and spending and charging like a fiend I want to leave him sometimes. Except for the fact that I love him, I would. I think you were brave to do what felt right inside, and you’re absolutely correct that you don’t need to explain your decision to anyone. Now look, you’ve made your dream of publishing a fantastic book come true (which I still plan to review, have been busy lately and want to do it proper), you are inspiring people on your blog, and hopefully, most importantly, you are happier because you are calling the shots in your life. Most of us can only wish for the same for ourselves.

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    1. I understand Kim. I actually make significantly less money and the health benefits are HORRIBLE! A lot of times I do think positively and remember all of the things you’ve said here. Every now and then, I have a little mini-meltdown of “WTF was I thinking???” lol and then I snap out of it. But I would agree that overall, I’m a lot calmer and at peace with myself and my circumstances.

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  11. Katherine, I love your spirit! I’ve taken unexpected turns in my several times, and now, in my retirement, I can tell you that they have enriched my life (not financially, though!) immensely. From one university professor to another, and in the same state, I support you and wish you best of luck in your further endeavors! Blessings and best wishes,
    Dolly

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much! What a lovely thing to say. I’m glad you stopped by to say that your life was enriched, but not financially because I continue to battle the $$$ situation lol Where were you a professor??? What are you doing now? I’ll be checking out your blog soon. Thanks again for the support and well wishes.

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      1. Dear Katherine, when my husband and I started a private school for students with special needs, we put everything we had into it. We refinanced our home twice to cash in on the equity and put it into the school. Fl state allocates about $65 K annually for services in comparable public programs, but we were providing a lot more for about $50 K, fundraising our behinds off and getting into debts. ON the plus side, it’s the kids that count, and I am tremendously proud of our successes! Our kids went on to become stars! I am still a professor, I’ve taught at FIU for years, in fact, when I was doing my doctorate, I was teaching there at the same time. I am now teaching only two courses per semester at MDC, since Social Security Administration, in its wisdom, limits my earnings.

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  12. I feel like this would be a silly question but considering how you just shared your story, have you ever read “The Alchemist”? Your story reminds me so much of the book…I believe our sole purpose in life is to follow our own personal legend, no matter what our friends and family may think. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Omgosh! I’ve read it over and over and over again. Nothing is really new right? That’s why this personal reflection on following my own personal legend might sound familiar 🙂 You’re so very welcome and thanks for the Pingback!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I read it for the first time a little under 2 months ago and all I can say is wow…it was hard for me to really enjoy the story because I was paying attention to the underlying message that was being communicated. I have read a lot of great books this year but “The Alchemist” put everything in the proper perspective for me. You are too welcome and ill be ravaging through your blog some more, very soon :))

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      2. Yes! I can completely relate. When I read it the second time, it was after my husband had begun reading the Green Tablets and then I noticed that he’d mentioned a character reading them. I totally missed that part and the meaning (we all come to understand things in our own way) the first time around. Whenever I’m feeling a little wayward or judged, I pick up that book. Another favorite is The Four Agreements…but we can discuss that later lol Looking forward to your coming through!

        Liked by 1 person

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