Moments, Day 20: Off the Wagon

Well today I fell a bit off the leave-school-by-5:00-every-night-no-matter-what wagon. I know…I know!!

About this same time every year (and again right when school resumes after Christmas break) I tend to get this feeling. This terrible, awful feeling. I have named it the drowning feeling. It literally feels like my chest is being pressed on with a heavy anvil. I feel like I can’t take a completely deep breath. I literally feel like I am drowning.

Multiple deadlines, kids with learning problems, overinvolved parents, parents who don’t give a rip about their kid, upcoming conferences, keeping organized records, remembering all the changes with buses and medical issues and whose grandmother died last weekend and what birthdays are coming up, creating lessons, making copies, trying to do something halfway creative and fun in between all the ludicrous assessments and such. And the papers. OH, the PAPERS!! If I never saw another piece of paper in my life I would be perfectly fine with that. Teachers have WAY too many papers. UGH.

I wonder sometimes if I’m having an anxiety attack when I have the drowning feeling. I’m not really sure, but I know that when the feeling comes over me, it means I have some catching up to do. And I simply must do it. So the other night when I was supposed to leave right after school, I walked into my room after a meeting and saw it. Stuff. Everywhere. EVERY-WHERE. Then I remembered some upcoming deadlines I needed to meet. And a bunch of papers that need grading. And those report cards that have to be entered and updated and corrected. And not to mention I didn’t yet have a single thing prepared for the following week.

There’s the drowning…..

So instead of coming right home I called Todd and told him that I was having that feeling again so I just had to stay and get a little bit of stuff accomplished or I may very well bring that feeling home with me for the weekend. He  mercifully didn’t even act annoyed. I know when he hears it in my voice, there’s just no way around it. So I stayed and I got several things done. I felt better. A little. Sigh.

You know what?  I realized later that I didn’t do the one thing I should have done…pray. Whenever I get anxious about anything in my life, I take a second and ask God to calm me and refocus me and help me get whatever business done that I need to get done. And He always comes through for me. So why is it that when it comes to my work, I forget to do that very important thing?? Hmmmm.

Even though I fell off the wagon, I plan to climb right back on. I can’t promise I’ll be perfect from here on out, but at least I am giving it a try. And I’m really enjoying the moments I’m not missing now that I’ve started reprioritizing my life. So when things don’t go right, I’m going to remind myself to just stop,  pray, and learn to get back on the wagon.

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Cold Turkey Detox Day

I’ve been dying to get to this keyboard and write for the past week, but I’ve been working about 6 million hours a day so that hasn’t left much room for me to actually have a life. As usual. But that’s about to change.

Today marks an important day for me. One that my husband and I have planned and discussed for quite some time. Earlier this year, we had [yet another] conversation about my severe workaholism that turns on with each new school year. Ever since I’ve been a teacher, I’ve had this problem of working way many hours, to the point of excluding and neglecting  much of everything else in my life including my husband, my health, my home, my family, my friends, my hobbies, and worst of all, my relationship with God. I worked so hard to become a teacher because I wanted a career that I loved as much as the rest of my life. I thought I’d attained that. But in truth, what I’ve actually done is become nothing but a teacher. My whole personality (and even maybe my identity–I’m still figuring that one out) has become wrapped up in my career.

I’ve tried many different ways of making this more bearable over the years, but nothing worked because I never just decided I wasn’t going to be this way and did something serious about it. Until now. My husband is 100% hard-core about something when he makes a decision. JUST DO IT is definitely a motto he rolls with. So, I’m taking his guidance and I’m quitting cold-turkey. ( Not teaching, you goofs!) I’m quitting my workaholism. Cold. Turkey. TODAY.

We set the date of October 1st to start my detox from working like crazy…after which I will no longer allow myself to voluntarily stay at school past 5pm (with the exception of one “late night” each week which will be the same night Todd has another committment until 8pm) and I won’t be bringing home any work in the evening or on weekends.

GULP…

So, even though I’m excited about it, because I will actually have a life (!) I am also very very nervous. I have lived so out of balance in this way for so long, I’m not sure what to do to make it go well. I’ve thought about it, talked about it, prayed about it, and I still just seriously cannot see how I’ll physically be able to be the teacher I want to be without at the same time working at least as much as I already do right now. Which is probably why I just need to stop allowing myself to be out of balance, and just figure out how to cope with the fallout later. I know that there is a way to make it happen, I just can’t see it yet. Lord, help me!

So would you please pray for me? Even though I am having a mini freak-out realizing what a big deal this will be for me, I know in reality that my priorities really are out of whack, and that speaks more about me than just saying I’m a little bit of a workaholic. My life is made up of so much more than just my career–even as important as it is–and I need to remember what those so much more parts actually are. I’m praying for wisdom, for God to show me what’s on my plate that needs to be moved, changed, reduced, or kicked off completely. Interestingly enough, I’ve already had 2 different but very obvious attacks on this new goal that have come up in the past 2 days… I was giddy when I realized it, because that means I’m right on track with making this change. 🙂

I’ll be writing about how things are going along the way (duh) whether it’s good, bad, or ugly. Thank you in advance for your prayers and for kicking me in the boo-tay whenever I need it. Keep reminding me of what’s most important.

I’m looking forward to getting my eyes back on the One who matters.