This is the encouragement/lie that I tell myself daily:
Things will calm down if I can just get through ______.
Many years ago I filled in the blank with sleepless nights and potty training.
Sometimes it’s a short term obstacle like posting grades or I Love Math Day.
Other times I’m just trying to survive a holiday season or a tough school year.
These days that blank is always filled with “grad school”.
I’ve been in school for four straight years y’all. First it was a self-paced program at WGU. Next I spent a year at Virginia Tech in a program that I ended up realizing was a good stepping stone, but ultimately not the right fit. These past two years I’ve been working through a program at VCU that I absolutely love, but I’m weary. So weary.
I love the learning and the challenge. I’m inspired by my classmates and professors, and have even come to not hate the writing. But the hard part is this: the never ending feeling that any break, no matter how short, comes at a cost. There IS NOT enough time to fulfill every responsibility that weighs on me as a teacher, a mom, a student, a wife, and a friend. So if I do choose to take a break, that time has to come from somewhere. I find myself in a disappointing state of never fulfilling any of my roles as well as I would like to.
There are many things I try to tell myself to make it through:
Your kids are learning from watching you set a goal and meet it.
This is the next necessary step towards what you’ve been called to do.
It’s supposed to be hard.
Be thankful for this opportunity and the crazy amount of support you get that so many others don’t have.
Things will calm down if I can just get through August.
But the one thing that is truly keeping me going these days is The List. For months now I’ve been drafting this unwritten list of things I’m going to do with my free time* when I’m done. So this morning when reviewing The List on my open loop, as my pastor calls it, I decided it was time to write it down.
Here’s The List in no particular order:
Lose 20 pounds
Run the Holliday Lake 50K
Figure out and fix this nagging problem with my right hip
Read the books I bought last summer but never started
Read the book I asked for for Christmas
Read every book on the Newbery Medal list
Fix up my side of the basement into a space I actually want to use
Try at least once to fold my T-shirt drawer Marie Kondo style. (Anyone who knows me knows it won’t stay that way.)
Blog regularly again
Have friends over for dinner
Start teaching 2 year old Sunday School again
Talk to Jesus more
Start something like Math on a Stick or Math Anywhere
Buy the Carcassone Big Box and learn to play every expansion at once
Finish the hat I started crocheting two Christmases ago
Try art journaling
Get better at mountain biking and take Bubba with me
Figure out something Chica and I can enjoy together
Play disc golf and ride bikes with Jay
Swim laps again
This list makes me happy and hopeful.
But I should come back to the *free time comment. I’m trying to be realistic and know that there will still be work and new projects that come up and everyday time suckers. “Things will calm down if I can get through August” is only partly true because there’s always something else. However, I’m so looking forward to giving school a rest for the near future. As my friends go on to start their doctorate studies or I stumble upon the next program that looks perfect, I hope I will reread this list and remind myself that The List is what’s next for me.