It’s weird how this always happens to me, but usually around this time in the school year I realize that I’m losing myself. I’m spending my time grading and grading and grading. I’m doing hair on too many afternoons. I spend my mornings writing, but my poor garden falls to the wayside. Every hour of my life seems to be scheduled for something other than myself. Usually at this point in the year I’ve also given up reading books for fun. This year I kept reading (slowly), but I stopped running and exercising.
Usually, I let my life continue in this manner until I almost lose it (which, again, almost always happens in November). I’m an over-achiever and a borderline crazy person when it comes to getting my work done. I like to make lists and check things off. I like to know at the end of the day that I met my goal and accomplished all the things I meant to accomplish. My job, however, is not the kind where I can just make a list in the morning, cross everything off the list by the end of the day, and go home with a sense of accomplishment. That’s just not how teaching works.
I can make the list, and I might get a couple of things crossed off in the morning before my classes start, but the rest of the day is ultimately spent adding things to the list. By the end of the day, the list has doubled, but my time has shrunk. This year, my goal is not to lose myself, to continue to do the things that I love to do, even if that means it takes me a little longer to accomplish tasks on my to do list.
Last night, when I got home from school, I went for a run. It was slow. My running routine has been hit or miss at best for the past several weeks, so it’s kind of like starting over again. One of my best friends told me I needed to. She was right. I did need to. After my run I had enough energy to cook dinner, clean the house, and grade essays. Before bed I read The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri. When it was time to go to sleep, I went to sleep. It was the perfect evening; a mix between doing the things that I have to do while still taking time for myself.
I don’t know about you guys, but it is really hard to find the balance of life. A lot of people say that it isn’t even possible and we should stop striving to find that perfect balance. That may be true, but I’m going to keep searching and trying new things. I’m going to keep running and exercising because let’s face it, I’m a nicer person. I’m going to keep writing because I’m passionate and I want Georgia’s story out there in the world. I’m going to keep doing my best to be a strong teacher, but when I’m not perfect every day, I’m not going to give up or get down on myself. I’m just going to keep trying my best.
And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll spend some time taking care of the garden that looks so very sad right now.
What do you do to find balance? What have you given up that you need to add back into your life?