Sometimes, feeling lost is just the same as feeling wide open, when all things are possible. He has those days. He'll be gardening, and it'll strike him that he can stand up, leave his yard, and walk until he finds something else.
He's done it before, out of desperation. When teaching became so difficult that he started feeling the restriction of limitations. When he no longer felt he could even pretend he was teaching well, because there was no time to gather children, to see how they felt, to teach them exactly what they needed to know.
That being said, he had been comfortable with being mediocre for quite a while. It's predictable. The students arrived every day, and he taught them. He taught them as he was trained and expected to teach them. Fractions: real world application hook, logical explanation of how and why, model, guided practice, independent practice. He'd gotten good reviews and they had wanted him to stay.
Then, things got bad with the school itself: its leaders and the sheer lack of resources got in the way of even this mundane fraction routine. Interruptions, sudden changes, acquiring another 15 students to add to his 34. Nothing felt good anymore.
He was unsure of it it had ever felt good, really. At least it hadn't felt so much like failure.
But the failure was always tilting things in teaching. Weren't students supposed to learn how to thing? What about learning how to treat others? The lesson plans were only 1/3 of what was important, it that. Does that mean it was 2/3rds failure the rest of the time? Until that 1/3 stopped working, too.
Maybe that was just it. His tolerance, his comfortable existence happened at 2/3 failure, 1/3 success. Give or take.
Full success and only 1/3 failure were equally uncomfortable. What is a guy supposed to do when he's not playing catch-up the whole time? What fills the space?
Fractions? Maybe he'd never learned that. His teachers had failed him, just as he failed his students: 2/3 of the time.
So success brings a lack of gardening, less time to meander through chores, and less time to recognize the ability to leave. No time to make note of the choice to stay.
And here he was, exhausted, barely eating well at all. Not even a moment of rest for the hope of escape to break through. Success is dreary.