The First Foray

I’ve just had a decadent sip of icy Chardonnay, even though my elementary school class will not leave the classroom to board the buses for another ten to fifteen minutes. No, I am not imbibing at school.

Fortunately, my class has an able substitute teacher for dismissal this afternoon, as I have just returned home from an afternoon doctor’s appointment to address a significant spike in my blood pressure. It is no surprise to me that my doctor’s opinion was that we should retake it a few weeks after school lets out for the summer. I wonder how many of our physical issues are a direct result of trying to meet the expectations of others? I am not speaking about trying to keep 28 summer-ready children quiet through the week because standardized testing is going on in ten percent of the rooms. I am not speaking of the increasing hostility toward those who do my job from those who have likely never done it, and certainly not under the current conditions. I am not discussing the factors over which we have zero control yet are still evaluated against. I am speaking about everyone, but I know more about teaching than I do about most things other than parenting.

The project engineer who relies on a well-paid contractor to meet a deadline so the engineer can meet his or hers. The community social worker who has a caseload of seventy five or more families. The roofer who is not able to finish a job on time because of unseasonable weather. The senator who knows that the bill she is sponsoring to help the desperate constituents that she met this morning will likely not pass. The hard-working performer whose show is closing because the ticket sales aren’t enough to pay for the theater. The service-member who has the expertise and desire to go into combat but is instead assigned to the stateside staff of someone much higher in rank. All of these people want to succeed at what they do but at times, and often most of the time, are put into situations where the likelihood of succeeding has many obstacles. Like me, I know many of these people nonetheless take on these additional burdens and attempt to get the same result as they’d get without them. I wonder how many of us are compromising our health to achieve this, whether or not we are aware of it.

For my own health, I will be making changes and I hope they will not only be beneficial to me but also to those around me and those that depend on me, both at work and outside it. These are not earth-shattering revelations but rather personal and professional resolutions (and it will be somewhat earth-shattering to me if I am able to keep them). I hope someone else can be helped by reading them as well.

First, I am going to let go of those things over which I have no control. This might be a computer failure at work during mandatory testing or a surprise hailstorm doing over $3000 in damage to my vehicle. Both have happened and none of my worrying and micro-managing helped in the least. In both cases everything turned out well in the end. Not in the prescribed time, but well enough in the end.

Next, I am going to stop bringing so much work home. I know I won’t stop entirely, but my family and my interests deserve my unpaid time more than work does. Work will always be there. The people I love will not.

I am also going to make more time for my passions. I have been “writing” a book for the better part of five years. I have zero finished pages but a full folder of discarded ideas. If I never publish a thing, one day one of my descendants will be grateful for a written history of several of his or her ancestors. Additionally, I will get in the car or on a plane more often to go see the people I miss.

Finally, I am going to invest the same amount (or more) of maintenance in my family and friends as I do in my work. And this will close my very first blog post, since I have an out-of-town daughter and granddaughter here tonight and the baby is in a huggy-kissy frame of mind. Here’s to the best of intentions and the highest of hopes!

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