I am a high school English teacher who gets ten weeks off every summer. This particular break, I was ready to go back to work after five weeks. I felt very unproductive during the summer of 2017.
I require more structure like my profession mandates; my school day is organized down to the minute. I’m trained to eat, teach, and pee according to the bell. I’ve been back to work for a week and am already improving how I use the same twenty-four hours I had all season.
Every summer, I like to get something accomplished that I can’t fit in when working 50+ hours. I prefer to tackle a project like painting or renovating a room, writing a lengthy piece, running a half marathon, and taking mini trips with my family of four.
As far as composing a lengthy piece, I have to sadly report that I have written nothing new or improved. Thick, sticky cobwebs cover so many writing pieces I started. I shall revisit those someday. I have so many ideas and have no concept of writer’s block. I have, instead, an idea hoarding problem. It sticks in my head cluttering it to the point where I feel more than sloppy and slovenly because of it. If I get out a little at a time then I feel better, like I’ve done what I’ve been trained to do with words, tell a story.
This summer, I merely stained a deck, trained a puppy (sorta), built a website, celebrated my debut publication, and drove my teenagers to their work, sport, appointments, and social destinations. The rest was the normal, everyday homemaking tasks. I made little time for myself to be creative, to socialize, or to visit family members.
Most summers, I am much more disciplined to get up and exercise, shower, and dress by 8:00 am. Not this summer though. Frankie, our puppy, would cry to go out between 5:00-6:30 am, so I’d get up to let her and our sheltie out, feed them, let them out again, and then GO BACK TO BED!
Oh my my! I cringe to think of all the time I wasted trying to fall back to sleep for a bit before I had to put on my volunteer Uber badge and take my girls to where they needed to be. Please note that I’m not looking forward to my kids becoming young drivers, but I got weary behind the wheel, listening to the kids’ music selections: hip-hop, country, and (GAG!) rap.
Strangely, it actually felt like there were less hours in June, July, and August. Maybe it’s because I felt like I was splurging the non-scheduled time. Maybe at this stage of parenting when my girls are thirteen and fifteen, that’s just how it is. Maybe my husband taking a new position with a demanding summer schedule added to my lack of productivity. Maybe the puppy, the adorable little chewy-bacca that she is, siphoned my energy. All I know is that it’s hard to be a stay-at-home mother, no matter how old your kids and pets are.
Maybe I had the summer I was supposed to have to realize how much more I need to embrace the time I get. To do so, I need scheduled goals. I have a milestone birthday fast approaching and will greet middle age at forty-five. I need to stop procrastinating.
I am going to list here my biggest goals for the next twelve months in hopes that it will keep me on track. Checking off my lists brings me as much comfort as scrubbing toilets and taking out the trash (FYI – Toilets and trash are truly therapeutic for me.)
Before I’m forty-six, I will try to:
- Run another half marathon.
- Write and seek publication for at least another story.
- Write more blogs.
- Visit and contact family more.
- Find a new church and go to it.
- Lose four pounds (and keep them off).
- Train my puppy more seriously.
- Continue to exercise 6+ hours, and make half the sweat happen by 6:00 am.
- Reconnect with old friends.
- Inspire students.
- Be inspired by others, nature, and God.
- Find a beam, ray, or even a spot of sunshine every single day.
- Accept self.
- Practice humility.
- Say, “I love you.”
This is a late night blog post. I just sat down from the daily demands at 9:30 pm. Forgive the imperfections of the tale that showed up an hour later, but it felt better to write at least something. Seize the day! Carpe diem! Shine on!