Have you ever woken up feeling more appreciative than you have felt about life in a long time? Warning: That was me this morning, so, I suggest you stop reading if you despise the happiness of others. And then quickly find a therapist or a hobby because you have some stuff to straighten out.
To be cliche, I have always felt like life is similar to a roller-coaster in that it’s thrilling, terrifying, exhilarating, and sometimes nauseating all at once. It’s because of the ups and downs, isn’t it? I am an emotional person and I have always been an emotional person, but I love feeling it all, making me receptive to the good as well as the bad. At times when I’m feeling particularly wallow-y, I imagine myself as an artist feeding off my own negativity to fuel whatever creation I’m currently working on. And I can use my occasional cynicism to truly appreciate the loveliness that surrounds me as well. So you could say that I kind of revel in the twists and the turns and the unpredictability of it all. And that’s what takes me to where I’ve been.
With the start of the school year approaching, I felt myself getting off the ride of summer and it was like this insane adrenaline high that was disappearing. I felt vacant and the end of summer began to feel like a never ending Sunday. Dramatic, I know. But it did- because I felt unprepared and sensitive and nervous…and full of irrational fears such as: What if I forgot how to teach?! dun…dun…dun…
And so as the first week approached and then passed I was able to get back into the swing of life and predictability. And closed-toe shoes. Which completely suck, by the way. I met my students, and gave hugs to work friends that I haven’t seen since June. It was so easy to remember why I chose this profession from the get-go and how powerful of a career teaching is. And just like that I climbed out of my hole of insecurities. And, clearly, I did not forget how to teach.
This morning as I did monotonous tasks such as laundry and grading, I thought over the weekend I just had. One with laughs, friends, as well as a volleyball tournament in memory of Michelle O’Neill, a young woman, only 24 1/2 when she lost her battle to cancer (http://monfoundation.org/). A full day event, we spent the entire day on the beach with the sun beating down on us. I had forgotten my umbrella and two hours into the day I recognized I was being foolish for sitting in the sun. A kind group of people offered me theirs and I spent the remainder of the day when we weren’t in the ocean or on the court hiding from the sun. Once a month I allow myself to get angry at lupus- that bitch. A friend asked me earnestly, what is lupus? I explained the disease. Embarrassed that I was explaining something I live with to a person that is also a cancer survivor on a day that was for a young girl that had lost her life to her battle. And I was humbled. Humbled by his question and a discussion on life and appreciating the one we have and how envying the life of another does nothing for anyone because we all have our ups and our downs. Every person has their own story.
And on this Sunday, despite the day on the calendar telling me that it’s still summer, I walked outside to a strong sun and a cool fall breeze. I took in the air as I temporarily stepped away from my work to turn over the laundry. I’m so fortunate.