Of all the changes going on in my life, you wouldn’t think anything involving a purse would be among the most significant. But, it is. It was two years ago that I began my two-year commitment at my Teach For America placement school and very impulsively bought the stupidest purse imaginable. It was this silly, fifty-dollar, muted turquoise studded cross-body bag. Like my bright violet-red hair of the time, it was an outward expression of my turbulent state of mind during my first year teaching. Don’t get me wrong–I took care of all of my professional responsibilities at work with more dedication and perseverance than anyone, but finding balance in my personal life was probably one of the biggest struggles that first year.
Over the last couple of years as I gained stability in my job, personal life, and mental state, the purse went through some changes too. It lost some studs, the closing flap began falling off, and the blue-ness began rubbing off around the edges of its faux leather. The internal pocket even got a hole in it so sometimes I really had to put in a lot of effort to retrieve lost goods from the deep dark bottom. Needless to say, it became a pretty embarrassing thing to carry.
Even so, I loved it. As much as I had been searching for something more new and sophisticated, each time I went purse shopping this year I couldn’t find anything as unique or personal as the blue one. Nothing felt right. Nothing met my criteria: cross-body, under $200, genuine leather, with some real unique touches, and big enough to hold a book so I could read on the CTA. Until yesterday.
I finally gave in and took the plunge. I bought a black Big Buddha bag that I had seen at Macy’s over winter break. It fits every criteria except the real leather one. As I contemplated stuffing my old friend (the purse, not the roommate) in one of the fancy trash-compacting garbage bins, my trusty roommate suggested that I leave Old Blue out on the State Street sidewalk so that someone else could enjoy it. While I found it pretty difficult to believe that anyone would be interested in such a worn old thing, it’s nice to think that it might live on in someone else’s journey.
This symbolic gesture is largely reflective of everything that’s going on in my life right now. Lots of changes are happening for the better. With much relief to me, I’ll be transitioning to a new school in the fall where foreign language is highly valued and invested in. In only 23 days I’ll be moving into an apartment in a new neighborhood. Though will be really sad to leave my amazingly beautiful and bohemian apartment, and all those who occupy the building, Logan Square has many more people around my age, along with grass and trees and flowers and little bunnies hopping around. Growing up with the most elaborate gardens in my neighborhood as a child, it’s more comforting to be surrounded by green space. Also, I luckily won’t have to leave my Warriors Running Group, as there is Tribe on the north side only a 15 minute bike ride away from my new abode.
As I finish writing my last lesson plans that I will EVER turn in to Galapagos Elementary Charter School (woohoo!) I am incredibly excited to turn some new leaves and see what the second half of 2014 has to offer. With new black Big Buddha purse in tow, I will walk confidently into my TFA alumni-hood, my first self-selected job, my first post-TFA apartment; each change taking me towards my best self. Isn’t it funny how the little things can be so reflective of our life stage?