Since I became a teacher, thirteen years ago, it has been my primary focus other than my family. Now, my family is all grown and gone. So, I focus more on my job. But...life isn't a job. And though my work is much more than "a job" - it's a calling - I still needed to look at my overall priorities. I am very passion about what I do. However, we all need to pull back, sometimes, and re-evaluate how we spend our time.
I've now taken up a new goal from a good friend: get out more and live a life you enjoy. Yes, I can still be driven and passionate about teaching reading. Absolutely. But I need to practice more genuine 'down time' to fill myself back up with good things I enjoy.
And you know what made me question whether I really do this enough or not? A coach. No, not a life coach - just a regular, middle school, athletic coach. That's right, a coach at my school.
Here's the story of it:
I was making copies in the teacher workroom, not too long ago, when one of our coaches came in and saw his pile of work was in my work area. He was concerned his stuff was messing up my workflow, so he apologized and moved his stuff out of my way. I said, "No worries, Coach, I'm easy-going." And he laughed. Laughed?
Not only did this give me pause, I gave him crap about it. Teasing, actually. He's an older man, and I adore him. And he knows it. So, it's okay if we pick on each other from time to time. Our classrooms were side-by-side last year, so we know each other well. We know each other's stories and our teaching styles.
But, still, I gave it some thought. And, later, when I brought it up to him again, I said, "Hey, Coach, isn't it possible to be focused and passionate AND easy-going?" And the old sweetheart chuckled again at my silliness.
"Do I get to plead the 5th here?" he asked with a wink.
And while that old softy has no idea how much he made me re-evaluate how I live my life, he most certainly did. He's been through a lot in his personal life. He lost a wife, at a fairly young age, to a heart disorder that, eventually, also took the life of one of his sons. I can't imagine. I truly...can't imagine.
I began to think about how I spend my 'down time" and how I need to do more with it. Enjoy life more. Get out more. Let people I love know how much I love them...more. I do those things, of course, but not nearly as much as I should. I needed to add an easy-going stride in my life...somewhere.
So, yesterday, I met friends for tea and an impromptu trip to a bakery. I also spent some time with my beautiful grandchildren. Today, I went with my oldest daughter to brunch at a place she's wanted to visit. Later, we're going to a museum to enjoy some art together.
And while my work is very important, and I love the children I teach,...it's time to make time on my weekends for the most important part of my life: my actual life. We only get one, you know.
I hope, reader, this inspires you to get out more and do things YOU enjoy!