If I could go waaaaay back to January (not that I want to!) and decide on One Little Word for 2013 I would probably pick “Let it go.” Ok, it’s not a word, but close enough.
On Monday I start teacher workshops and the day after Labor Day I start teaching. Full Time. Yikes! But here’s the thing – I’m not that stressed about it. Even though I’ve hardly done any planning. Even though I’m teaching on a cart. Even though I move classrooms almost EVERY hour. Even though my classrooms aren’t science rooms and don’t even have a sink.
A few years ago I’d probably be living in a near constant state of panic right now. I wouldn’t have recognized it as panic at the time. But now that I know how “normal” life can feel, that’s exactly what it was. In fact, these days, when I feel the panic coming on, I’m surprised by it – both in how intimately familiar it is and how debilitating it feels. Did I really live like that for most of my life? Yikes.
I’m now able to let go of things beyond my control. School will start and there is really no way to be completely prepared for what will happen. I have the final “draft” of my schedule, but they can change it at any time. My rooms will likely change. I don’t have my rosters yet (which will surely change multiple times once I get them). And yet, I’m okay with it all. The IL program in general, and student teaching in particular, were powerful lessons in letting go – and trusting things will work out. And I’m drawing deeply on that hope in this final waiting time.
Letting go is not easy for the anxious part of me, but it feels so satisfying. I’ve also let go of expecting perfection from P,
And here’s the funny thing, since the anxiety has subsided it’s been easier to get more done in a day. Before it might take me days – or weeks – to do simple tasks, like put an empty shampoo bottle in the recycling or return a phone call. As a child I was always expected to be ready to answer to J’s call at any time, or experience dire consequences. Getting involved in anything meant I might not be immediately available. Thus, engaging in anything – even rinsing a shampoo bottle out – evoked debilitating anxiety, and I wouldn’t do it. Now I can. It’s still a conscious choice – no, no one is coming for me, I can take 90 seconds to do this – but at least it’s a choice. I can let go of the fear. And I love it.
I have also been able to let go of miles of unrealistic expectations – for a perfect garden, to be a perfect teacher, to always have perfect, error-free homework. I’m learning to accept my best as good enough. And I’m learning to re-define “best.” Sometimes I stop working on an assignment because I want to go on a walk with P. I could do one more proof-read but instead I choose to allocate my time elsewhere. And what I’ve given is my best, in the context of my life.
little big steps have made it possible for me to relax sometimes. Like now, mere days from the beginning of the school year. And it’s good. Very, very good.