With the free time that I have stumbled into this summer, I have found
myself searching for projects. I had forgotten what it was like to just sit. I had forgotten what I even used to fill my time with. And then the projects started rolling in. I rekindled my love affair with quilting, a romance that has dwindled in the past 2 years. I discovered where the phrase “grew like weeds” originated while working in the garden. I once again baked cupcakes and cookies. I found myself at yoga on a Monday morning. And, on top of the list of projects (and occasionally cleaning the house), I still found time to just sit.
In my rush to finish my masters and my drive for perfection within my classroom, I had lost a sense of what I needed to re-energize. I had forgotten how creativity, manual labor, and the sweet scent of baked goods can heal a soul. This summer I have been reminded how important it is to take time for me, for my interests. I have been shown how much happier and productive I am if I do something for myself.
All to often during the school year, I found myself up before the sun to prep my classroom and materials. Not only that, but I also found myself grading, planning, printing, and emailing well into the evening. And if I was not doing one of those tasks, I was mulling over my lessons and procedures, worrying that I had not reached every student. I had dreams about IEPs and nightmares about adverbs and adjectives. My sleep was restless because I was not able to turn off.
So far this summer, however, I have felt rested every morning. My grammar nightmares have ceased, and the only thing disrupting my sleep is a hungry, cuddly, curious kitty. Her favorite thing to do is wrestle toes, jump in and out of boxes, and watch birds from the windowsill.
Next year I plan to take more time for me and my family. I can only be my best self if I have time to unwind, re-energize, and let the creative juices flow. I don’t know that I will find time to quilt once the school year starts, but those cupcakes and cookies will be a monthly, if not weekly, occurrence (trust me, gluten free baked goods CAN be delicious!) In the last few months of school, I began to make a schedule for myself with grading and planning goals. These goals allowed me to stay more focused on the reality of what I could accomplish. I still worried, pondered, and adjusted plans at night, but no longer did I fret over a stack of ungraded papers. This schedule and goal list is a step in the right direction. I don’t know if I will ever be able to completely leave it all at school, but I will strive to focus more on what I enjoy in my time off.