Are you one of those people who are always working? Do you rarely take time to relax and enjoy life? I’d say that I feel sorry for you, but lately I’ve found myself in that exact same predicament. So now I feel sorry for both of us!
|Always frantically swimming against the current?|
First, I have a job that I have to go to each and every day. My husband says that one of these days I’ll learn to do my job properly so I won’t have to go back and do the same thing all over again the next day. Isn’t that just so…cute?
I’m a middle school teacher. Attendance is not optional. Neither are designing lessons, grading papers, “collaborative planning” (read: meetings) and filling out a ream of paperwork every week. Sounds like a full-time job, right? Apparently, this is not so.
I also attend a class on Wednesday nights from 4:30 to 8:30 so I can be a better teacher. I have never taken a class before that requires so many hours of busy-work to do at home! I co-coach the Readers’ Rally team, and volunteer time to mentor a student. I am a member of a teacher’s service sorority and look forward to our monthly Saturday meetings. I attend band concerts, PTA meetings, basketball games, fundraisers, and try my best to learn Spanish so I can communicate with my students’ parents.
It’s not that I don’t like my job et al, it’s just that to do it properly takes up more time than there is in a day. And having a hint of perfectionism in my make-up (Yes, that’s a joke and you may allow yourself a brief smile. No one is just a little bit of a perfectionist), I put in all the hours that are required to make myself look, well, perfect at my chosen profession.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a husband. My mother says he’s a saint for sticking with me for more than 26 years now. She may have a point, not that I’m difficult to live with or anything. I also have two sons, ages 22 and 15, and an ancient dog. Pathetically, I have had to resort to catching up with my sons’ lives when I have a few minutes to check out my Facebook postings. As for my dog, Buffy waits to see how long I’m going to be home before she bothers to get up to greet me. Visits home of less than 15 minutes don’t even qualify for a tail wag.
In addition to wanting to spend time with my family – it doesn’t even have to be “quality” family time at this point – I have a bunch of other things I’d like to find time to do. I have shows saved on TIVO. Someday, I’ll watch those American Idol finale shows and learn who won the last 2 seasons. There are cobwebs on my ceiling and I’m pretty sure the mold growing in the shower grout will turn out to be the cure for the swine flu. My husband finally got tired of stepping around and knocking over the stacks of books I plan to read “in my spare time”. Last weekend, he transferred them to a new bookshelf that he bought at IKEA and spent the afternoon building. It looks great next to my night table, and now there are somewhat fewer stacks of books to trip over. I also love to cook, but haven’t actually turned on the oven or stove in six months. My from-scratch brownies are universally adored, but it’s been so long since I made them I can no longer find the recipe.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I’m a teacher and that I have the whole summer off to do whatever I want to do. You’ve always wanted a job that lets you lounge at the pool for a couple of months, so why on earth am I complaining? Well, here’s the answer: Someone has to teach summer school! And don’t forget that before and after summer school, there are “voluntary” professional development classes to take and weeks of planning for the next school year. Deciding what to teach and when to teach it is important, you know. And then there’s….
“Stop!” My husband rolls his eyes. “When are you going to learn to use the word ‘NO’?”
Oh, I couldn’t.
It would be nice to go to a movie with my family.
I’m going to read my book by the pool.
Wow! That felt good. I think putting balance into my life is going to be a piece of cake. Just say NO to extra work! Maybe you should try it. We could meet for a nice long, relaxing lunch.
But not tomorrow, I have a meeting. Nope, next day’s booked, too. How about a week from Friday? You’re going to a seminar? I feel you. Call me soon and we’ll schedule a time to get together, I promise.