A career change brings simplifying


What does that Russell kid say in the movie UP!  ? Tents are hard.

Well, I have found myself saying transitioning is hard many times (in the same whiney tone) this summer. It’s been awesome…and not-s0-awesome…and middle-of-the-road-awesome too.


The Big Purge took place in my photography studio at a sale that I advertised all over the planet. It was successful, but very, very weird to see my tools (expensive tools bought over 13 years) carted away by complete strangers. I kept reminding myself that where I was headed was the right place….the X-You are here spot. The place that destiny was waiting…a bit dramatic, but I do believe it was divine intervention that brought me back to teaching.

This was how my story unfolded into something completely different.













I guess teaching elementary kidlets isn’t completely different in that I’ve done it before…but after such a long stretch of owning my own business (which also means grocery shopping, eating, working out and even peeing when I want to), being in a school’s four walls for close to 9 hours—what can I say? I’m anal!— is going to be a major adjustment. Not just that, but I happen to know that the difference between a good teacher a  SUPER TEACHER  is about ten-twelve hours a week, depending on the units of study. Some might think I’m exaggerating, but I truly believe that the prep work for doing innovative, creative and memorable lessons is always more time-consuming than we think it will be.

To be honest, I’m harboring my nemesis fear a little bit in this transition.

It’s not fear that I won’t be able to do a good (or super) job, because I’m positive my students will get all that I’ve got…it’s more a fear of letting go of an identity (pro photographer/author/blahblahblah) and also turning my face to the work at hand and letting go of how things used to go…

Again with the letting go ! Seems to be a theme, lately.

Obviously, there’s the giving away and hauling away of accumulated stuff (hoo-boy—had it ever accumulated…more like exponentially expanded into mountain peaks) But there’s also a simplification of schedules, activities, meal planning/buying/cooking…just trying to get it all in the week is going to be an interesting feat. It’s been so long since I’ve done it! Meal planning, not one of my spiritual gifts, is going to have to magically appear in my Daytimer each week and this frightens me…more than the science project leftovers living in my fridge in Tupperware of said meals.

I might just have to cut some things out to allow for the necessary.

As in “the Blairs gotta eat” necessary. Or the “get up and work out so I personally don’t exponentially expand into a mountain” necessary. Or the “the girls don’t drive and they need to get to a game” necessary. Or “what is that strange wire sticking straight up from your braces let’s get to the ortho” necessary.

What’s NOT necessary?

Facebook, for one. Stopped cold turkey. check.

Blog reading. Kinda stopped that awhile ago (minus my weekly hit). check.

Cleaning. Oh, good grief, how I would love to pitch that altogether. not close to a check.

Shopping. Made a deal with myself that it’s just food, toiletries and underwear. check.

Dates with friends. Don’t want to give that up…where does it fit?

Guilt induced volunteering. Heavens! I gave that up long ago too. check.

Reading for pleasure. Insert sad face here…I love reading..but might need to backseat it for awhile.

It’s too bad that clearing out the schedule is not as easy as de-cluttering my bathroom cabinets. I had a blast playing hotel soap basketball into the trash last week. Why my sweet husband insists on bringing home every teeny tiny lotion, shoe shine cloth and mouthwash from days on the road is beyond me. Whenever I have needed a “fill in” soap because we were out, he throws up his hands in triumph and trumpets the necessity of hording the Hilton Toiletry Bundle into some sort of toiletry bomb shelter supply. Sickness!

I digress.

YET…wise words from PH, the toiletry horder, came at me this week when I was having a freak-out about getting my classroom together in 4 days.

Small chunks, Lara.

Chunk it down to manageable pieces and go a steady pace. IT WILL ALL GET DONE.

Of course, he’s right. I haven’t seen a freak-out (you know, a la Jerry Maguire) from him in the 17 years we’ve been married….because honestly my rational self (only reserved for Saturdays and Sundays) knows that freaking out isn’t going to solve anything. It pretty much adds stress to an already nail-biting situation and also creates alone time because no one wants to be around it! Got it.

In this slim-down of my new teacher existence I would like to make a public promise. I hereby pledge to do my best to for-go the paper bag for hyperventilation, breathe a big ‘ole yoga breath and piece out what needs to be done and what can be eliminated…Namaste’, my fellow freak-out pals…Namaste’.

Paring down…letting go…all part of this new journey….it’s like a hot tub in Hawaii after being in the sun all day. Sliding in carefully and slowly.


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15 Responses to A career change brings simplifying

  1. Anna says:

    You look adorable. I can tell that you are going to work really hard to bring school to life for those kids! Prayers for you through the change. I am transitioning in the opposite direction. I am on a leave fom school counseling-nine years working in school-and am in my 4th week of homeschooling. It all works out, hopefully. I will be thinking about you and your kiddos this week.


    As Always Lara, you inspire me with your wisdom and your truthful insights into creating a simplified life. I cringe just thinking about it, yet one day, I know that I, too need to pare down. More stuff does not equal more happiness…
    I know that once you establish a daily, weekly, monthly rhythm you will find a fulfilling , joyful life. I am sure that your family with be pitching in to help you and each other because isn’t that the meaning of family? Your primary support system? I smile because I know that you are the hub, but you need those spokes girlfriend! Include them in your success story! Love You!

  3. Erin says:

    I took a sneak peek at your classroom the other day: SO darling!!

  4. Kath says:

    Very excited and proud of you… I so appreciate the emotional side of purging. Feels like you are throwing part of your life’s story away – and the sale!??!! Let’s just say its a good thing I wasn’t there to join you on that day(I could see myself being dragged along by the new owner, arms wrapped around your equipment because I remember the day you used it for the photoshoot of Hannah etc). Needless to say, I respect and relate to the challenge of letting go! So GREAT job!!! It’s just stuff and the memories are all yours forever. As for the teaching – – how I wish I could be a fly On the wall!!! Those students have no idea how lucky they are – you will pour your heart and soul into making every lesson an experience to be enjoyed – you will become that teacher every child wants and every parent wants their child to have!!! So don’t freak out – enjoy the process and know that you wiil get it all done. The balance will come and you will thrive – Dave and the girls will be so happy to see you enjoying and finding fulfillment in your career again… So have fun … I’m off to throw out some hotel body lotions ! Lets talk soon

  5. Kim Brody says:

    I know you are going to impact lives in more ways than you can ever imagine!

  6. Denise says:

    Thank you for this post. As a mostly stay-at-home mom, I think about the day when I will go back to work. I feel overwhelmed with my stuff now and it will only be worse when I go back to work. There is freedom in limitations!

  7. pam says:

    Good Luck w/ the new school year. I read a great blog by an art teacher and I get what you’re saying about the prep work. She wears outfits she’s made to follow the theme of their projects,etc. These elementary school kids works are amazing b/c they are inspired by her. As long as you are happy and things are going the way you want – the rest can go by the way side! Can’t wait to hear about your year! Bug Hugs!

  8. kimberly says:

    You are such an amazing writer girlfriend- both with the humor and heart that you fill your posts with. I am SO proud of you for moving forward, into new territory (or, old but renewed as the case may be) and parting with such a huge part of who you have been for a long time. Those kids are so incredibly lucky to spend their days with you and I can’t wait to hear how rich your life becomes through it all. Love you.

  9. larablair says:

    I know!! I do need the spokes 😉 so far so good. I’m thinking of you and your new adventure—the Flea will be fabulous..just like you! oxoxo

  10. larablair says:

    Thanks, Erin! So exciting…I feel ready. I hope you have a wonderful school year! oxoxo

  11. larablair says:

    If you’d seen how much lighter I felt after the sale, you would’ve released the buyers from your grip 😉 I do treasure those Hannah pics…she was so, so little. And one of my faves ever is you tossing the NY leaves in the air! Tomorrow I return to my old life and I am very content…joyful, even. Feels good! Love you, Kath. oxoxo

  12. larablair says:

    Thank you, Kim—coming from a Super Teacher like you that means a lot. Your images are looking great, btw! Way to go getting in there and gettin’ it done!! oxoxo

  13. larablair says:

    I agree–that’s a great statement: Freedom in limitations. It seems that when we have a larger space we want to fill it up. Decrease the square footage and you’re trying to pare down to make it fit. :) Not sure when our house pare-down will come…certainly not happening now! Ha! Your blog is sweet, Denise. Love the combo of craftiness and decluttering…it is possible for the two to co-exist! Best to you! Lara

  14. larablair says:

    Thanks, Pam! I’m getting excited over here. Big day tomorrow…no crazy skirt to freak the kidlets out right out of the hopper…might save it for next week! 😉

  15. larablair says:

    Thank you, dear friend. Been thinking of you a ton lately! What did the Africa trip do to your heart? Many things, I’m sure. I’d love to hear about ALL of it. When can the three muskateers reunite? oxoxoxooxoxox

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