Today is December 17th and for the next 18 days I am on vacation. No more middle schoolers laughing and jumping around for two weeks. No more 4:30 A.M. wakeups or hunting around for something to wear to school that I haven’t already worn this week. No more lockdowns because of a (apparently bogus) threatened gang fight with weapons. Guns. That happened yesterday and it completely locked me down. Brought up too much old stuff that lies buried deep in the heart of me. Sigh. Vacation…what a concept! I have already begun my time off with an afternoon nap. I have a jumble of things in my head that I’d like to do or accomplish during this time, and I need to think them through so I don’t just spend a week of it on Facebook or worse, in Farmville. I could easily do that, really. Planting and harvesting, rearranging things…I feel brain dead about now, and status quo is always easier to maintain than generating new movement. That clearly won’t serve my needs, however, so I’d better make an alternate plan.
Today I read a blog post about holiday season overload (read stress) that suggested that one think about (and write down, naturally) how you want to feel by Christmas Eve. I would extend that to January 4, when I go back to work. (I want to feel rested, prepared for another onslaught of seventh graders, healthy and innovative. And prepared. Did I say prepared?) The next part of the exercise was to make a list of everything you need to do between now and then (my list could be an entire blog post meme – one of those 100 things about me lists). The last step is to cross off everything on the list that will not lead to the feeling you wrote initially.
At first I kind of sniffed at this exercise. “That’s kind of basic. I’d like something a little more inspiring. Something with more steps to it.” Now I think that exercise is a perfect way to begin this vacation. Short and sweet, but not really simple. I could still make a list of 100 things to do that would all pertain to how I want to feel, so the need for simplicity is within me, not the exercise. So, let me try to break those goals down just a little. I said I want to feel:
Rested. I took an hour nap this afternoon and when I awoke I thought I hadn’t even been to sleep. I have been wrangling with insomnia lately, and rather than try for an extra miserable hour of sleep I get up. At 3:30 or 4:00 A.M. Not good for the body or mind when bedtime stays at 10:00 or later. So sleep is on my agenda. Definitely.
Prepared for another onslaught of seventh graders. Details about this are available in my other blog that is all about them, so here I’ll just say that preparation is everything, and I need to create space and time for more of it. Even do a chunk of it during this vacation. That places some housecleaning on my agenda, since walking into my office is next to impossible at the moment.
Healthy. Oh me. Lately I have been eating anything that is placed before me and some things that aren’t. I have not been exercising despite frequent visits with a physical therapist for a knee injury. I feel clogged up and a little numb in my mind. So healthy would look like vegetables, green drinks and a daily walk. And knee exercises.
Innovative. I have an idea for a way to change my classes that is exciting to me, and hopefully will make their two daily hours in my class better for my students. It will require some research and more planning. I feel a teacher inquiry project coming on and am excited about the prospect. Again, that is for the other blog, but related to this vacation.
As you can tell, I am so freshly out of school that I can’t even think about anything other than that. Deep breath…there is life after seventh grade, and I plan to find some of it, if only for a couple of weeks.