Monday, April 13, 2009

on hold/holding on

I'm in the final few weeks of this semester. I'm sick again. I've been having anxiety spikes after cutting my meds for that in half. I'm having a super rough time with my final papers. I haven't been bingey, but haven't been great either and the only exercise I've been getting is through cleaning and walks.

I've made a decision. I swear I used to be able to multi-task, but the degree to which I keep getting derailed from my routine and goals this year and the frequency with which I'm getting sick is freaking me out. My body is clearly sending me messages that I need to simplify and prioritize. So, I'm putting grad school on hold indefinitely after I finish my final papers over the next 2 weeks.

I've known that I'm overwhelmed, run-down, stressed out and pretty much losing it for months now, and I finally decided that I couldn't just push through and ignore it. I sat down and thought hard about my priorities and what I want long and short term...what's really important and what I'm willing to sacrifice to get it.

What I came up with is this. My top three priorities are my kids at school, my health and my family, friends and daily keeping organized, keeping the house clean - just the baseline things that are essential for me to have a reasonably happy existance that involves the people I love.
My fourth priority is my future growth in terms of education, career, and other development. This includes grad school, going for my NBTS certification, and other 'optional' things that I sometimes think are essential like spending time on crafts, learning new skills, etc.

What I realized is that I have been letting the thing that's fourth on my list of priorities prevent me from doing well the things that are in the top three. That's just silly. Doesn't make any sense at all.

So, until I feel that I'm doing my kids justice, my health is under control and my daily home and family life is supported by a stable, healthy routine, that 4th priority is going to have to wait.
It's a big load off to finally have made that decision. It's a difficult and emotional one for me since it's been so long in the making and I was so proud to finally be on my way to those goals after crashing and burning as an undergrad and gradually working my way back through straight A's in my first Master's and in my ESL certification. But I know by the sense of peace that I've had since I made that decision that it's the right one.

The next few weeks are going to be difficult and hectic while I finish this semester up, but as soon as it's through I have at least 3 months, even if I do decide to go back to UT in the fall, to focus on those priorities. With the summer off from work and school, 2 of those months will be without the daily work schedule. I, of course, will need to work to get ready for the next school year, but I won't have to be anywhere specific at any exact time to do that work.

I'm going to focus on diet, exercise, greening our lives (composting, gardening, making cleaning products, cooking from scratch, etc.), learning Spanish, reading some books on teaching reading and writing, making unit plans for next year, researching ways others school systems have improved ESL parent involvement, and reading, reading, reading. I'm really excited. This will be the first summer I've had completely off - no work, no school since I started teaching besides the summer my dad died which was, of course, hectic and un-relaxing in its own horrible way.

If I get rehired next year at the same school I've been at for the last 2 years (it's always up in the air with ESL) I'll be so thrilled. I drove by the site where they're rebuilding our school and it's an easy bike ride no more than a mile from my house. How awesome would that be to ride to and from work every day?! I'm so hoping that I get to go back there and really work on strengthening my ties with the parents and other teachers now that I'll have made the time to focus on that.

I'm so ready for this shift. It feels good to know I'm stopping fighting myself and starting to do what's simplest, healthiest and best for me right now. I just have to keep telling myself to push through these papers and that the sooner I finish them, the sooner I can get started on this new path. It's super difficult to push through when you're sick and burned out, but I know I can do it and it will be so worth it to get to this new place.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Congratulations on making such a big decision! It sounds like this will make your life much more peaceful and enjoyable. Awesome!